The Holy Week in Francavilla Fontana
April 5th to 9th, 2023. Traditional Easter rituals in the province of Brindisi.
From April 5th to 9th, 2023 in Francavilla Fontana a municipality in the province of Brindisi, in Apulia, take place the celebration of the Holy Week
The Holy Week rituals have very traditional program for each day:
– on Holy Wednesday (April 5th, 2023) children carry flowery canopies, called “plates” as a sign of peace.
– on Holy Thursday, the Mass in Coena Domini (the Last Supper) is celebrated and it is the day of the pilgrimage to the “sepulchres”.
On this occasion the confreres of each congregation of the city are seated in a row and, remove their shoes and offer their right foot to the parish priest who washes it.
The sepulchres are “supervised” by the “Pappamusci“, the confreres of the Carmine Congregation who move in pairs. From early Thursday afternoon until sunset on Good Friday, they pass through the town guarding the sepulchres where the dead Christ rests . They are dressed in white, with a girdle as a belt (it represents the symbol of sacrifice), with a scapular (brown dress that covers the chest), a hood that hides the face and the pilgrims’ staff called staff.
– on Good Friday 3 statues representing the Desolate Virgin (Mater Dolorosa) parade in procession through the streets of Francavilla Fontana. Every year the statues are brought in by the different brotherhoods in turn and each brings its own statue (there are 6 brotherhoods). The year in which parade the statues of the Venerable Confraternity of Maria SS. del Carmine, the statues are two, united, representing the Virgin and St. John.
The death of Jesus is announced in the afternoon and the Adoration of the Cross begins.
In the evening, in the Procession of the Mysteries, the congregations parade carry papier-mâché statues representing the different moments of the Passion.
Hooded and unrecognizable people are also the Crociferi, (or Pappamusci cu lli trai) who follow the procession and carry heavy wooden crosses on their shoulders. They are barefoot and hooded penitents or devotees who follow the “statue of the Waterfall” which represents one of Jesus’ falls while going to Golgotha.
The procession ends with the statue of the Dead Christ carried by the Confratelli della Morte followed by the Mayor, the Captain of the Carabinieri, the Prior of the Royal Archconfraternity of Prayer and Death, the first city magistrate and the crowd of citizens.
– on Holy Saturday the vigil at the tombs continues. The priest lights a fire in front of the church and blesses it: it is the end of Lent. The resurrection is announced by the sound of the bells, which are silenced on Holy Thursday.
– Easter Sunday it takes place the procession of the Risen Christ: a statue, covered with a cloak, carrying a flag with a red cross.
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