In Sicily as in Spain the spectacular and mighty processions of the good Friday and during the whole Easter week are expressions of the dark religiosity of the 16th-18th centuries and the love for rich and impressive artistic decorations typical of the Baroque times when they were conceived as an instrument of propaganda by Spain and the catholic church to contrast to spreading of the Protestant doctrines and to confirm the Spanish Kingdom as the first and most trustful stronghold of the whole Christianity against the threat of the infidel pirates coming from the sea and the Ottoman Empire. It is not a case, indeed, that the brotherhoods that until today carry the statues of the processions along the city centres of many Sicilian towns and are often based on leagues of craftsmen were those in charge of organising the local militias in the 16th and 17th centuries to protect the territory against the pirates attacks.
Starting with the most famous “Mysteries of Trapani” in the West when for about 24 hours the holy statues are carried thorough the whole city centre in a dramatic and spectacular procession, then moving, in central Sicily, to the other amazing procession of Caltanissetta that is twinned with the worldwide known procession of Seville and ending in Modica in the south-east for the solemn procession of Madonna “vasa vasa” (kiss kiss) where a statue of the Virgin Mary encounters a statue of Jesus Christ and kisses him, there is no city, town or village of Sicily that does not transform its city centre into an open stage to celebrate the Easter cult.
And the end of the Lent is celebrated with special meals and a lot of cakes and sweets because in Sicily palate and spirituality, sugar and religiosity are always different expressions of the same culture and history. Above all the triumphal cassata of Palermo…but this will be for another snippet.
Gianluca D’Alia, Paesaggio Sicilia Tours