Many towns in Sicily have a
strong tradition of religious rites and ceremonies that date from the Spanish Domination of the 15th-17th centuries. These rites are demonstrated during mystic Holy Week celebrations.
On Good Friday at 5:00 p.m., the Society of the Passion of Christ leaves their parish church and is joined by all the other Confraternities on Via Roma. They make their way to Chiesa dell’Addorlarato. The statue of “Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows” is carried to to the Cathedral where the Urn of the Dead Christ awaits her. At 7:00 p.m., thousands march in a solemn and silent torch-lit procession behind men dressed in white hooded costumes. These costumes represent medieval fraternities of artisans and artists (Confraternities). Today there are 15 of the original 34 Confraternities still in existence. They take turns carrying marble statues of a deceased Christ and “Our Lady of Sorrows.” The group is accompanied by 24 symbols of Christ’s martrydom including the cross containing a reliquary of the “Crown of Thorns” and tools of flagellation. Watch this video of Easter Rituals in Enna http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ3kX-uGRec&feature=related.
Holy Week celebrations begin on Palm Sunday with the Procession of the Confraternities, the L’Ura from their individual churches to the Duomo in solemn Eucharistic adoration. The Baroque Duomo was founded by Eleonora, the wife of the 13th century Swabian King Frederick II. The Cathedral has a spacious 16th century interior. The Confraternities are accompanied by the town band on their way to the Cathedral.
On Easter Sunday the ritual involves “A Paci” when the statues of the Resurrected Christ and Mary are reunited in the Cathedral Square under a joyous celebration of ringing bells.
Some of the other towns in Sicily where you can witness elaborate Holy Week (Settimana Santa) and Easter (Pasqua) rituals include:
To learn more about Sicily go to www.vino-con-vista.com.
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides and Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites.