Friday, April 06, 2007

Two days in Putignano Approaching Easter

Putignano - Santa Chiara - outsideA busy week as Easter approaches. Apparently, the day after Easter (Pasquetta) is also a holiday here, which does not mean much to me considering that every day is a holiday. The weather had been pretty ugly for a stretch, finally raining its heart out all day on Wednesday, but has cleared up into a brilliant Spring now. Lots of activities, processions, etc. about town as we approach Catholocism's most revered celebration.

Last night, Angela and me went out for a walk as we often do after dinner. All of the churches in town were open late and many of the Putignanese were out on the streets visiting all of the churches. This event observes the last supper (l'ultima cena). I was surprised that there were so many of them in town. In all of the churches, the image of Jesus was concealed, the altars were decorated in various ways, and there were lights outside many of them, such as the lights pictured on Santa Chiara here.

Angela and me visited three churches before stopping for dinner with AnnaLisa who stayed with us afterwards as we continued on our stroll. We talked with many people and visited seven churches in the course of the evening, which included San Felippo, San Pietro, Santa Chiara, Santa Maria, San Cosma e Damiano, San Domenico & the church in which we were married, Madonna del Carmine. I was surprised when we finally decided to head home as it was nearly midnight!

Putignano - Piazza Plebiscito - VIThis morning, there was to be a procession and dramatic recreation in the historic town center, and we got up early to get ready. We made it out the door by 9:30AM and arrived at Piazza Plebiscito by 10AM. People were bunched on the balconies of the surrounding apartments and were gathering outside San Pietro, leaving a large passageway, where the participants were taking their places for the proceedings which were about to begin.

podcastThere were many people involved in the procession in various costume, all bearing the various trappings of their position. One group waited on the steps of the church with a black-robed statue of Mary at the top of the steps, while another group of pallbearers entered following a lone drummer and bearing a statue of Jesus on a well-decorated and veiled catafalque (pictured here). When the pallbearers reached the bottom of the steps, the procession halted and there were a few short public prayers and songs. Then Jesus was carried into the church and Mary was carried down the steps and away.

Tonight, there is supposed to be another procession of The Mysteries, which I think is how they refer to the stations of the cross here. View more photos of the events in the usual place.

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