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Live Easter in Sorrento, between faith and folklore

Easter in Sorrento brings with it a magical and enchanting atmosphere. Thanks to the events that animate the country, both Catholic and folkloristic, it is possible to live a unique experience of its kind. In particular, it is the Hooded Processions that attract many people, both Catholic and simple onlookers who do not want to miss an appointment so important for the local community and beyond.

 

Catholic tradition and folklore, a delicious mix

As with any practicing Christian, Holy Week opens with the blessing and distribution of olive branches on Palm Sunday, the one preceding Easter. Precisely to this custom is directly linked one of the most detailed tradition of the area, namely that of adorning the palms with caciocavalli or with colored sugared almonds. The reason? It is to be found in the period of the Saracen invasions. During the latter, in fact, the inhabitants of Sorrento, in pure prey, took refuge in the Cathedral, where they prayed incessantly that the city would be spared from the looting and barbarism of the invasion. Just near the Sorrento coast, the Saracen ships were wrecked, thus sparing the city from violence and devastation. Among the Saracens, only a young slave managed to escape before the ships sank. Once he reached the town, to thank the citizens for their prayers, he gave them a bag that he wore around his neck, inside which there were colored sugared almonds. The tradition still lives on today, thanks to the inhabitants who do not fail to celebrate and remember what happened every year.

 

Between Thursdays and Good Fridays the Hooded Processions take place, typical manifestations of the Easter festival among the most heartfelt and well-known in the whole Sorrento Peninsula. The processions are made up of numerous hooded men who, along the streets of the Sorrento peninsula, evoke in a symbolic key the passion and death of Jesus Christ. The rite dates back to 1300 and is deeply felt by the clothes of the place, so much so that the place inside the procession is handed down from father to son. Each procession is organized by a confraternity of faithful, that is, real associations of believers that are found within each church. Since each town on the Sorrento peninsula has different brotherhoods, there are multiple processions parading through the various municipalities. Although united by some elements of the Catholic tradition, the processions are distinguished from each other by the color of the garments of the members who compose them, the exit times and the choirs that accompany them. At the end of all the processions, however, we find the "Miserere", the salm of David composed exclusively of male voices and sung a cappella with different arrangements. In the town of Sorrento, the Hooded Processions are two: the so-called "White Procession" and "Black Procession". The first is characterized by the white hoods worn on the head by the participants; it is organized by the Venerable Archconfraternity of S. Monica and takes place on the night between Thursday and Good Friday, in memory of the pilgrimage of the Virgin in search of the son sentenced to death. The second one, is by the Archconfraternity of Death and Prayer and takes place on the evening of Good Friday, during which, some people with black hoods on their heads, carry the simulacrum of the Dead Christ, an ancient wooden sculpture followed by the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Just the night procession is the most evocative and fascinating one, thanks to the presence of a few people and the silence that reigns late at night, elements that contribute to delineate a suggestive and meaningful atmosphere. For the occasion, some bars and restaurants remain open all night. Thanks to the organization underlying their development, attending the processions is undoubtedly an event that deserves to be experienced.

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