Easter and the procession of the Misteri in Trapani: Why not to lose it!
Easter in Sicily is one of the most heartfelt religious festivals, a moment shared all over the island with a range of events and traditions, many and different in each province. During the Holy Week in Trapani you live an exciting sequence of processions, representations, reenactments that tell a story more than 400 years old.
On Good Friday the city stops around a unique moment: “A nisciuta”, the exit from the church of Purgatory, which starts the Misteri of Trapani.
On God Friday the city stops around a unique moment: “A nisciuta”, the exit from the church of Purgatory, which starts the Misteri of Trapani.
The procession of the Misteri is the longest Italian religious event: it starts at 2:00 p.m. on Good Friday and goes on for almost 24 hours, until Saturday. Also notable is the artistic value of the statues, entirely made of wood, carved, painted and created by Trapanese master craftsmen more than 400 years ago. But how does the Misteri of Trapani procession take place?
Good Friday is not the beginning, but the final act of a long year of preparation. In the city, fraternities, groups and guilds take care of the old and precious wooden statues representing the different steps of the via Crucis. The work of preparation becomes a genuine cult and every citizen is devoted to a different “chariot” which is adorned with flowers, silver, drapes and precious objects.
Each group carries their own statue on their shoulders along for all the way, performing the traditional “annacata”, a song that forces their body to a constant suffering.
The procession of the Misteri is a theatrical work that unfolds along the streets of the city involving the citizens, the “massari”, those who carry on their shoulders the Misteri, groups and musical bands, one for each chariot.
During the night, believers offer themselves to carry the sacred statues on their shoulders, relieving the group efforts and expressing their fervent devotion.
The presence of people is tangible on an emotional level, by alternating expressions of sorrow for the death of Christ, to joy for his resurrection. The Misteri of Trapani are not just an event, but the main event, that combines sacred and pagan elements, never coming into conflict.
In Sicily there are other cities that intensely live the Holy Week, including Erice in the area of Trapani. The statues are smaller than those of Trapani, but the atmosphere is equally charming and heartfelt. Amongst stairways, descents, ascends, alleyways and the nuances of the medieval village, the procession becomes particularly striking. The considerable presence of tourists leads to the formation of groups of believers, praying in Spanish, French, Italian and many other languages.
Back in Trapani, Holy Thursday is an equally heartfelt appointment. On the Thursday evening, after the “Coena Domini”, the traditional Washing of the feet, everyone gathers in prayer around the prepared sepulcher. Each church has its own, and each one is worth a visit. During Holy Thursday night, Trapani comes to life; along the streets of the city center it is possible to visit many and the most precious of the. All around the blessed sacraments flowers, cereals, legumes, candles and items representing the different parishes are deposited.
But in Trapani Easter also develops around the table.
After the fasting of Lent, the family kitchens are heated in order to prepare delicious dishes. Each family cooks its tradition variance, brings it to the table, various egg dishes. Lamb is the main course, cooked in the oven or stew. Many families have the traditional cassatelle, ricotta ravioli cooked in meat broth. Cassatelle can also be fried and seasoned with sugar and chocolate drops inside. But for Easter, the queen of sweets is the traditional Sicilian cassata. A cake made of sheep ricotta, almond paste, sponge, icing and candied fruit.
And if you prefer to alternate the folkloristic event to cultural and naturalistic itineraries, Easter in Sicily is the ideal! Spring in Sicily is a time of great magic: colours are bright, temperatures are mild, days are long and sunny. There are so many places to discover, including for example Zingaro Nature Reserve, open all year round and particularly fascinating in the Spring time. Moreover, at Easter you surround yourself with good food, what are you planning to do on Easter Monday?