Velá de Santa Ana
Religious Festival in Seville
Velá de Santiago and Santa Ana is celebrated in Triana from 21st to 26th of July. Velá Santana literally means, ‘Saint Anne’s evenings’, because Saint Anne’s day on the liturgical calendar. The festival dates back to the 13th century and is the city’s second most important festival after the Feria de abril de Sevilla.
The festival begins with the announcement in the inner patio of the old Hotel Triana and ends with a giant fireworks display that illuminate all of the Triana district and the Guadalquivir River.
During the festive days, the Triana’s bridge, the Altozano and the adjacent streets are filled with lighting and lanterns. Here people drink sherry wine and dance the sevillanas, a type of folk dance; eating roasted sardines is also a popular activity. During mornings, religious events, competitions and sports activities, exhibitions, contests, and screenings of movies in Santa Ana Square even a fishing competition are organized.
A popular tradition which takes place during the “Velá Santana” is the Cucaña whereby people have to grab a pennant from the top of a pole suspended over the Guadalquivir River. This is perfect way to cool off during the heat of the day and a great excuse to immerse yourself in the waters of the Guadalquivir River.
On the night of July 25 in the church of Santa Ana there is a traditional floral offering and fireworks are performed. At midnight there is a ringing of bells from the adorned tower, accompanied by the band of cornets and drums.
Origin of Velá Santana
To find the orogin of the festival must go back to the middle of the 13th century, when Seville became a Christian again and King Alfonso X was touched by the hand of the Virgin of Santa Ana, who cured him of an evil eye. In 1,266 he ordered the construction of a temple in Triana in honor of Santa Ana.
From then on, on the eve of the patron saint of Triana, on July 26 , the residents of the neighborhood and part of Seville would come to the church of Santa to keep vigil over the Virgin all night. The people of the city of Seville itself, who then had to cross the bridge of boats, to come to keep vigil and prostate themselves at the foot of Santa Ana. The church would be open all night but the young people did not stay there, they went to the riverbank, where they organized parties and swam.
The more recent history of the festival began in the early twentieth century with Manuel Garrido Pérez, deputy mayor of the City Council who introduced the cucaña in 1910. In 1980 was the first time that the festival started with an opening speech.