Easter is one of the most important religious event and combines the main moments of Passion, Death and Risen of Christ to the folk rituals, sometimes through dramatic and theatrical forms of expression often in structured and complex way, symbol of total renovation. What is most impressive of Easter in Sicily is the active participation of many people that express itself not only with the classical procession and pilgrimages, but also with the alternation of sad feelings for the Death of Christ and those cheerful and joyful for his Risen. During the Holy Week the historic center of Palermo comes alive with spectacular processions of the painful drama of the dead Christ.
On Holy Thursday, the day dedicated to the Adoration of the S.S. Eucharist, all the churches remain open to allow the faithful visiting the Sepulchers, altars decorated with flowers, bowls in which seeds have been made germinate in the dark for forty days, which create pale blossoms adorned with skilled hands to ribbons and bows, arranged with baroque elegance usually in one of the side altars of the church. Particularly interesting is the decoration of San Domenico Church and the altars in St. Catherine and St. Matthew churches. On Friday numerous processions with the statue of the dead Christ followed by Our Lady, often depicted with seven swords pierced in her chest, followed by bands appearing and faithful make a cosmic echo of mourning throughout the city.
At the Easter Vigil, at midnight, in the church of San Domenico there is the traditional “La Calata di la tila” (Fallen cloth) during which the heavy cloth covering the main altar is down dramatically across to shouts of joy for the Resurrection. The death of sin and resurrection to life mark a transition that is passing from the harsh winter to spring bearer of life, not by chance that the egg becomes a symbol of nature unfolds. On Easter Sunday the children will give Easter eggs, while cassata and marzipan sheep, typical sweet of the Sicilian tradition, still persist among adults.
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