For centuries, in the early hours of Holy Friday, hundreds of hooded people dressed in white go across the streets and the squares of Sorrento to come into the church of Annunziata (from which they left) at dawn again.
Among the processions winding and developing along the streets and the squares of the Sorrento Coast, one of the most ancient and famous is that which starts, in the early hours of Holy Friday, from the Church of Annunziata in Sorrento.
It is organized by the Venerable Archconfraternity of Santa Monica and – besides boasting ancient traditions – appears to spectators to be an event whose dramatic force gives way to suggestions ad emotions caused by the use of a very meaningful symbology.
This procession of hooded people wearing white clothes – from which the name Sorrento White Procession derives – tends to remind of the way gone through by Our Lady to search for Her son Jesus who had been caught and sentenced to death, and tends to keep the most important moments of Christ’s Passion alive – as well as it happens for the Black Procession.
Also for this reason, besides the statue of the Virgin Mary, a distinguished place is reserved to the so-called tortures, that is to say the reproduction of details which remind of some significant facts which occurred during the last hours of Jesus’ life.
Among these ones, for example, there is a bag (reminding the one containing the thirty denarius which were paid to Judas to betray Jesus), a basin with a tablecloth (testifying the ignorance shown by the Roman governor Pontius Pilatus for the Messiah’s condition). Also, a column and a lash (reminding Christ’s flagellation), a hammer together with huge nails (reproducing those used for Crucifixion) besides so many other objects having a strong allegorical meaning.
To give further mystical elements there is also the presence of the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows (whose transportation is considered a longed-for privilege for its lucky bearers) and a lighting granted almost exclusively by the use of lamp-posts and torches.
The procession is preceded by a band – intoning the notes of the most famous funeral marches – and it is accompanied by intoning the Miserere (that is David’s psalm) sung by a very big chorus interpreting the role of the repented people.
Other charming elements are the standard of the Archconfraternity and the so-called Pannetto (a small cloth), preceded and followed by rows of hooded people carrying small crosses.
After going along the main streets of Tasso’s hometown, the procession gets into the Church of Annunziata again where it ends at the very beginning of Holy Friday.
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