Italian Food and Flavours

Easter Procession in Montalto delle Marche

As well as getting together with friends and family for huge meals with many courses,  Easter for Italians is largely centred around religious rituals and traditions. 

We normally spend Easter with friends who visit us from Austria to enjoy an Italian Easter!  This year however we will be in the UK with family. One of our friends is a great photographer and he took the accompanying photos a couple of years back. His haunting and atmospheric, black and white images highlight the atmosphere of the event and some of the details that are easy to miss.

The Good Friday Procession is a re enactment of Christ’s walk to the cross and takes place in many towns and villages all over Italy. Local participants are dressed in ancient clothes, some carry the figure of the virgin mary and others carry the figure of Jesus. One man playing Jesus must carry the cross.

Three wooden crosses are erected on a platform above the piazza and the solemn procession,  snakes around the old town until the crosses are reached. It may all sound and look a little odd to the un religious,  and at times I have felt that I’m part of a Godfather movie. The town lights are turned off,  so…apart from candle light, all is dark and rather eerie.

The music played is haunting and melancholic and all the villagers follow behind  the statues in silence, at a slow, even pace with heads bowed. I begin to spot a few familiar faces, the local dentist, friends of my children, all concentrating on their parts. My own children with their visiting friends link arms and we all seem lost in the moment. The simple act of walking slowly en mass , as a community lends itself to a period of deep thought and reflection. The sense of spirituality is not lost on me and when you think that these processions have in some form or other happened for centuries there does seem a timelessness about them. I love the way that many of the villagers come together for these events, even in the modern age and really hope it is never lost!

When it’s all over, I am brought back to reality with a thump, whilst chatting over a hot chocolate in the neon lit bar.

If you do ever get a chance to mingle with local Italians during a procession, then don’t be shy. They are welcoming.

Wishing you a Buona Pasqua and hope that you can also slow down and find a little bit of silence for your thoughts.

Easter Procession in Montalto delle Marche

To see more excellent photos from Alex Nitzsche visit : http://www.alexnitzsche.com

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