Easter Processions in Mendrisio (TI)


Maundy Thursday and Good Friday

The two processions which take place during Holy Week can be traced back to the time around 1600. On Maundy Thursday, Christ's journey to Calvary is portrayed by 200 people representing the Jews and the Romans who played a role in the crucifixion of Christ.

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These amateur actors wear magnificent costumes bought from the La Scala theater in Milan. Some 50 horses also participate in the procession. The procession, accompanied by torch bearers and musicians with brass instruments and drums, moves through the old city, which has been decorated with transparencies (painted material lit from behind and some being hundreds of years old) by the inhabitants. They were once lit by candles, but now have electric lighting.

Christ, wearing a crown of thorns, walks behind Pontius Pilate, accompanied by Roman soldiers and Jews. He carries his cross, stumbling now and again under its weight. Following him are the three Maries, Veronica, the dice players, the two prisoners in chains, Herod, and the high priests. The Good Friday procession is an older one, which begins and ends at the Padri Serviti monastery. It portrays the burial of Christ. The present day procession conforms to rules laid down in the eighteenth century. Children carry antique lanterns. Around the statues of the dead Christ and the sorrowful mother, articles pertaining to the Passion, such as candles, ladders, sponges, hammers, nails, whips, and similar objects are brought along. Funeral music is played as the lighted procession moves through the old town in the evening.

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