Procession of the Mysteries in Trapani
In Trapani, on Good Friday the Procession of the Mysteries takes place, which run through most of the streets of the city in a show of lights, sounds and colors. It is the longest Italian religious event , it begins at 2 pm on Friday and lasts for almost twenty-four hours until Saturday, and among the oldest, it is represented by almost 400 years.
The Mysteries are twenty artistic representations of the Passion and Death of Christ made by Trapani artisans of the 17th and 18th centuries and representing evangelical scenes. The statues were made with a particular technique: the faces, hands and feet are in carved wood and are supported by cork frames mounted on a wooden skeleton. The fabric of the clothes was modeled with the typically Trapani technique, called carchèt: the fabric was immersed in a mixture of glue and plaster which resulted in a greater naturalness of the clothes. The statues are not inspired by classical iconography but by episodes mentioned in the Sacred Texts or in the Apocryphal Gospels to which personal interpretations have also been added. We also note the clear Spanish influence in the Spanish-like uniforms of some soldiers or the fact that the helmets have been replaced by imaginary plumes. The groups are therefore characterized by a representative dynamism that is unique in the vast panorama of the Sacred Representations.
The statues, decorated with precious silver ornaments and elaborate floral compositions, illuminated so as to bring out the features of the face, are carried on the shoulders by a dozen men called "massari". The bearers give the procession a characteristic trend thanks to the "nnacata", that is a particular movement that is given to the group following the cadences of the musical pieces played by the bands.
The period preceding Holy Week is preceded by "I Scinnuti", or "descents", a rite dating back to 1600, during which the groups that are kept in the chapels of the church of San Michele throughout the year are descended to their positions and exhibited in the center of the church. The "Scinnute" on Tuesday and Holy Wednesday: dedicated to Maria Madre di Pietà dei Massari and Maria Madre di Pietà del Popolo, the one on Good Friday is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.
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