More Holy Week, even a Running Madonna!

Dear Ceci, Finn, Gus, Kieran, and Mary –

I can see from Facebook pictures that you had fun on Easter (even Mary, who had a bad cold?). When we Skype, you must tell me all about it.

I already wrote you about Easter @ Auntie Elizabeth’s studio  in Cianciana, but I couldn’t fit in everything.  Today I’m going to back up and tell you some more about Good Friday, the day we remember Jesus died.

During the morning and afternoon of Good Friday, the townspeople walk in a long procession to a hill, called Monte Calvario, at the edge of town. These photographs are from there (click on each one, and you can read a little more).

On Good Friday night, the men you saw walking down from Monte Calvario return there. They take the statue down from the cross, place it in a glass coffin, and carry it down, through the town, to the main church. It all happens very late at night. That is one reason I didn’t go (but I heard them!).
The other reason I didn’t go is that IT TAKES THE MEN CARRYING THE STATUE 3 HOURS! Here is a video someone else made. You probably don’t want to watch the whole 5 minutes, but a minute will give you an idea of what I heard. The “Lamento” is the very slow song they begin to sing a minute into the video – listen. I think you’ll hear how sad it is.

Can you guess why it takes the men 3 hours? They walk 3 steps forward, and 1 step backwards, the whole way, the whole time carrying the statue.So, Good Friday is very sad, and Holy Saturday, too. Everything just feels empty. And then at Mass on Holy Saturday, as I wrote before, there is great excitement, and the bells ring, celebrating the resurrection.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!

At noon, in the main street, everybody in the village goes to watch for 3 statues:
the Risen Christ (San Salvatore)

Mary (Madonna), and St. Michael, S. Michele,
perform the last Easter scene. Three times, the d’Angelo family men carry their family’s angel statue from from S. Salvatore down the street to…

I will see some of you next week, and I already saw Mary this weekend (so big! so loving to talk!), and will see her in a month. I can’t wait!

Love,

E.B.

***BUONA FESTA!***

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge them)

Dear Ceci, Finn, Gus, Kieran and Mary,

I know you are really busy on Easter, and the days leading up to it, too.  Here in Cianciana, where I’m staying in Auntie Elizabeth’s Studio, things are also busy, even though Easter morning began very slowly here, with this sunrise outside the window. It’s actually two doors, with windows, and they open onto my little balcony, so I was able to stand outside the window to take this photo. :

Sunrise, Via Catania

Sunrise, Via Catania


One thing I noticed is that  everybody has been cleaning, during Holy Week!  They throw rugs over their balconies, and then beat them with a broom or stick. Also, I’ve noticed much more laundry handing out during Holy Week, than during other weeks.

The village's main street is the widest, so it's the best place to hang laundry.

The village’s main street is the widest, so it’s the best place to hang laundry.

On Good Friday, many children in town were in the big procession and play that take place every year on this day.

Cianciana Children, waiting for Jesus.

Cianciana Children, waiting for Jesus.

At the main church on Good Friday, a huge statue of Jesus was laid on a bed, and on Holy Saturday night – in the middle of Mass – they took it off the bed, and then this statue appeared over the main altar:

Risen Christ, Easter Sunday

At this side altar, where I go every morning, everything is all set for the great feast. Do you see what’s woven into the rug? Look carefully!

 Agnello Pasquale

Agnello Pasquale

No Easter bunnies, here, but Easter lambs! In fact, sweet ones are baked and sold in all the pastry shops in Cianciana (and all over Sicily – and Italy, too!). These delicious little cakes have marzipan and pistachios inside them. I went to my favorite pastry shop and asked for one. The owner, whose daughter lives upstairs over the pastry shop, makes these Easter Lambs. Here is Gaetano, carefully wrapping up my Easter Lamb:

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And here are the lambs, made by Gaetano’s daughter:
G&lambs
Agnello di Pasqua

Easter Lambs are very, very sweet, believe me. If you five had been here, I could have shared mine with all of you, even baby Mary, who, I hear, is sometimes eating solid food! I miss you all. HAPPY EASTER!

Love, E.B.

Kids’ Feast!

Hi, Ceci, Finn, Gus, Kieran, and Baby Mary – I miss you, both families, EVERY day, but this afternoon  I thought of you especially, when I went to the celebration of St. Joseph. YOU WOULD HAVE LOVED BEING HERE, I know!

carpetMany of the houses had these carpets with a photograph of St. Joseph hanging over the railings of their balcony.

Palms & Oranges for S. Giuseppe

Palms & Oranges for S. Giuseppe

The main street was lined with palms that looked as if they were growing oranges!

WHAT are these girls looking at???

WHAT are these girls looking at???

ANSWER: BARBIE DOLL BALLOONS!

ANSWER: BARBIE DOLL BALLOONS!

 I think  you would have liked some of the food, too

CCandy

VERY spirited horses lead the Holy Family

VERY spirited horses lead the Holy Family

I always thought Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus were on a donkey, during The Flight Into Egypt, but today, it was a horse – in fact, 4 horses.  Well, who knows, maybe the Holy Family had  a horse?  Anyhow, I’ll post a short video (of the horses) on FB –

The Holy Family

The Holy Family minus Jesus (at least I didn’t see him anywhere)

The priest spoke (I have a video for Facebook, because  it won’t work on this page). After that, people went up and had some of the special bread for the day. I was in the morning procession, where we picked up the bread and marched with  it to this altar on the main street of the village!

Hair!

Hair!

Finn, Gus, and Kieran, this one’s for you —

Love,

E.B.