In Sorrento Peninsula the rites of the Holy Week are strongly felt and have ancient roots.
During the night between Holy Thursday and Holy Friday about 20 parades march in procession around the towns of the Peninsula, from Vico Equense to Massalubrense. These parades are organized by brotherhoods that over the centuries have repeated the message of the Passions of Christ.
Easter in Sorrento: Processions and historical information
The town of Sorrento boasts two processions: the white procession, organized by the Arch of Santa Monica, takes place on the night between Thursday and Friday; and the Black procession of the “Sacred funere day” organized by Venable Confraternity of Death, turns on the evening of Holy Friday.
The names, “white” and “black” are given by the colors of the robes that the participants wearing during the procession.
Before the “White procession” it is a tradition visit the “Tomb” or “Altars of Repose”. Tradition wants that these are visited in odd numbers. After the visit to the Tomb, people wait in silence through the streets of the city, the output of the procession.
The celebration of “Black Procession” or of the “Dead Christ” is most solemn and majestic, reinforces even more the popular belief, since this procession is the finding by the Lady of the Dead Son. Participants wearing black hood and carry in procession a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows followed by a Dead Christ.
The roots of the Processions date back to 1500 when it was tradition confraternities visit the churches and monasteries on the evening of Holy Thursday. The processions was simple and some confreres plainclothes roamed the streets of the city with lights on, singing psalms and carrying a cross strips between two spears.
It probably towards the end of the eighteenth century, during the Spanish Viceroy and the influence of the Jesuits, who processions began to have the organization and rilevance they have today.
The processions were enriched with such torches, lamps and symbols of the Brotherhoods, pennant and pannetto, and also inserted themselves symbols of offenses materials suffered by Christ. The procession ended with 200 singers of the Miserere that in a solemn atmosphere echoing chants of solemn psalms.
Another sad tone is given by the notes of the funeral marches that are played in the lead the processions from competent bands.
The Good Friday processions are more than just a folk event but the testimony of the religious attachemnt who have the inhabitants of the Peninsula, and especially the once who lives in Sorrento.
Finally it should be noted that throughout the Easter period take place the Via Crucis and ecclesiastical functions such as the washing of the feet, which takes place during the Eucharistic celebration on Holy Thursday.