Easter week processions are very rare in Italy these days. Only a few cities even have them anymore. Castiglion Fiorentino, my home, is one of them, and a great source of pride for all ages.
DO NOT BE ALARMED! The cloaks and hoods in the following pictures are not Klan related! It is a much older medieval custom! This was used during the Black Plauge. The hoods would hold herbs near the mouth and nose to prevent the person from getting the “death.” The hood was also to mask their identity. People thought that contact with the dead bodies transfer the disease. The people who discarded of the bodies had to be disguised, in order to not be thought to be bringing the disease when moving about the town. Also, there are three major churches in Castiglion, and each of them has a different cloak color, white, black, and navy. There are three nights that the processions are held, and each church had their chance to be the start and end of the night’s march. Also, the procession had carvings depicting the stage of the Passion and a reader who would tell the story as they walked through the city streets. The city’s band would follow behind the three colored groups playing mournful songs, followed then by the public.
First night of Easter processions.
The honor of carrying or escorting a cross is sought after and given to important people within the church. The current mayor of Castiglion is on the left side of the cross in the photo. All three are barefoot.
The processions are held in all the major streets of town. The candle torches that are carried drip wax all over the roads. After the processions cars will squeak down the roads and wheels can have a hard time finding traction causing accidents.
Second night of processions
Gathering for last and largest procession on Friday.
Easter dinner at Santa Chiara! Yay!