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Easter in EuropeStory: Easter customs in Italy
Posted on Sunday, May 01 @ 17:35:53 CDT
Topic: Easter in Europe

Easter is one of the most important celebrations in Christian religion...

In Italy every region has got its own specific traditions and it would be almost impossible to list all of them.

One of the most characteristc ones takes place in Sulmona, Abruzzo, it's the representation of the Vergin running away (La madonna che scappa). The personification of the Vergin refuses to believe that her son resurrected so she runs away, out of the church, loses her black mantle showing a precious green dress with golden embroidery. On the Holy Friday, in the cities there is the procession of the dead Christ, which has medieval origins.

On Easter day, in Ginestra, La Processione dell'Addolorata ( Procession of the Suffering Mother) who goes around town to look for her dead son. During the moving procession, people imagine that she finally finds her son. The rite is linked to an ancient popular tradition and is followed by the city band.

In many villages all around Calabria and Campania, on Easter day they have touching processions followed by bands with fireworks in the end. In Bagno Calabro, every year there is "l'Affruntata", the meeting of Mother Mary with her resurrected son: the statues of the Vergin, Christ and John the Evangelist are carried by volunteers around the city until they finally meet. In Calitri, on the Holy Friday, there is the Processione dei Misteri when they carry thorn-crowns and crosses.

On Easter Day in Fiorenzuola d'Arda, near Piacenza (Emilia Romagna), there is a very characteristic Ponta e cull: it's a battle which involves the whole city with men and women of different ages who throw boiled eggs at each other!

In Cividale del Friuli takes place Il Truc a traditional Easter game to be played in the town squares: through egg shaped buckets full of sand slide down boiled painted eggs following a very strict ritual.

Among all the procesions and rituals of the Holy week, one the most interesting one is the Processione degli incappucciati that takes place in Tuscania where men with hoods and bare feet follow the procession in chains.

In Savona takes place the Processione della Cassa where wonderful coffins in carved wood are carried around the city. On the sides of the coffins are carved scenes of the Passion. In Sardinia the most important celebrations are the ones related to S'iscravamentu (the un-nailing from the Cross) the ritual refers to the removal from the Cross of the body of Christ, and his burial.

In Alghero the rite begins on a Tuesday with the Processione dei Misteri (Procession of the Mysteries), and continues throughout the whole Holy Week.

On Thursday, there is a procession where they carry a statue of the Crucifix, which is said to have arrived there in 1606 as a result of the shipwreck of the Spanish ship, "Santa Chiara of Montenero".

Accompanying the Crucifix is the Holy Brotherhood and thirty-two dazzling lanterns that illuminate the seven statues known as the Mysteries.

The procession passes through the gothic heart of the city, following the fourteen stations of the Cross, and finishes at the Cathedral.

The next day, the city celebrates S'Iscravamentu (un-nailing). Veiled women, escort the statue of the Suffering Mother, dressed in black, in a procession known as La cerca ("the search").

It symbolizes the Madonna's search for the body of her dead son. The procession pauses for a few minutes in the various churches of the city. At sunset the procession reaches the Cathedral where the ceremony of the un-nailing begins. The body is taken off the cross and placed on a stretcher called lettéra. His crown of thorns is positioned on the Madonna's head.

The procession, then, restarts. The illuminated coffin is carried around the Church of the Misericordia, and deposited at the foot of the grand altar.

Related Links
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