Good Friday mysteries in the Italian capital of culture

AGI – The sound of trumpet and drum will again break the silence in the streets. After a two-year hiatus that interrupted a tradition of over four centuries that was not even scratched by the plague and world wars, Procida relives one of its most heartfelt rituals, the Good Friday procession. And it relives it as a cultural capital.

Prior to Holy Thursday by the procession of the hijacked apostles, organized by the Arciconfraternita dei Bianchi, founded in 1581 by Cardinal Innico d’Avalos d’Aragona, in which, after washing his feet, twelve apostles with a brother’s dress even with hood and with a cross on the shoulder and a crown of thorns on its head runs through the historic center of the island ahead of the centurion, they return the mysteries, the spectacular procession of 30 artistic artifacts made with the participation of two thousand citizens it will pass from the oldest village of Terra Murata to the port of Marina Grande.

The allegorical floats carried by the arm recount episodes from the Old and New Testaments and is made of papier maché, wood and other bad materials. The procession has its roots in the 17th century and in the Spanish Viceroyalty, like almost all of them in the Neapolitan area and more generally in the south. Conceived by the brotherhood of Turchini (or rather by the immaculate Madonna called dei Turchini), so called for the color of the mantle of those who belonged to it, founded in 1629 by the Jesuits, established in the old church of San Michele, from which the brotherhood of ‘700 emigrated because she became the owner of the church of San Tommaso d’Aquino also called the new church on the island, the procession was initially only penal. Hood bearings whipped themselves with sack.

Easter Good Friday procida procession mysteries

© Antonello De Rosa / Aniello Intartaglia

Preparing a wagon of the mysteries

A particularly bloody procession, of which the church a century later decided to quell the brutality and turned it into a procession with symbols. In 1728, therefore, the first wooden and polychrome statue arrives, that of the dead Christ, a work commissioned by Neapolitan sculptor Carmine Lantriceni to end the show; years later, that of Our Lady of Sorrows, also made on commission, which has wooden head and hands, while the body according to a tradition from the 18th century, which is also that of the manger, is a stuffed doll dressed in a real dress. In the nineteenth century, these two statues were joined by others in wood and papier maché, donated by a benefactor. Only around the 40s of the twentieth century was the construction of Mister establishedin, which, together with some ‘regulars’ used every year and coming from the various churches on the island, see the ‘variables’ or ‘furniture’ drawn up every year and worn by young people dressed as brothers of Turchini.

Some, the most representative, are housed in a small dedicated island museum. Three associations are the absolute main characters in their production with very different techniques and materials (In Ragazzi dei Misteri, L’isola dei Misteri and Good Friday) together with the schools. A work that begins far from the planning, around October, to the material creation of the Mystery, which begins around January. “Good Friday is an endless day for Procidans, it lasts all year round,” art teacher Nico Granito explains to AGI.

Even the route they take is the same every year along the entire historic center of the island, though other routes have sometimes been tried on a trial basis. This year, also because of the tight deadlines imposed by the late decision that it was possible to return to the presence in the Easter rituals, recycled materials were also used to build the mysteries; in the future, there will be a focus on environmental issues with greater recycling.

The allegorical floats are generally made up of one or more wooden boards (called bases) up to 8 meters long and about 2 wide, on which are placed sculptural representations with cardboard mache, wood, plastic, polystyrene and fabric, with different architectural styles and even 4 meter high colonnades. During the realization phase, the Mysteries are kept hidden so that they can only be seen for the first time during the Good Friday procession, and often immediately afterwards, the same day, they are dismantled immediately. This time, however, until May 1, after the procession, they will be exhibited to the public in the outer areas of the Citadel of Mysteries, in the village of Terra Murata, as part of the planned initiatives for Procida 2022.

Easter Good Friday procida procession mysteries

© Antonello De Rosa / Aniello Intartaglia

A nocturnal image of the Procida procession

In addition, the Ritual Project workshop also starts on the holidays. On the night of Easter Thursday and in the morning on Friday, a team of technicians will immerse themselves in the atmospheric island atmospheres to create a digital audio archive of the rituals of the holy week in Procida, which ‘captures’ the sound of the trumpet, Christ’s songs in Terra Murata, the drums and the chains, Addolorata’s funeral march. The work performed by professional sound engineers will be the starting point for a research and processing performed by the musicians Pier Paolo Polcari (Almamegretta) and ubikdaniele.

“The goal is to protect the past, preserve identities, make generations communicate with each other and, above all, promote the enormous intangible cultural heritage of the island of Procida in a contemporary key,” said Procida 2022 Director Agostino Riitano.

“In a moment with such strong visibility for our island – AGI emphasizes Mayor Dino Ambrosino – we proudly display one of the identity rituals to which our extended community is most attached. THATnt around the procession of the dead Christ and the mysteries, generations of islanders meet and they pass on the art of building artifacts and a strong religious devotion. A ritual that tells the island and its people. The idea of ​​capturing the sounds and returning them to a digital archive opens up a new page that is just as fascinating. Moreover, the procession this year will be even more inclusive, in line with one of the axes of the Procida 2022 dossier: it will actually be told live to the blind and partially sighted, thanks to the initiative of a local television.

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