Touching, evocative and authentic, are the rites of Holy Week in Gallipoli, they give intense emotions and immerse visitors in the purity and tumult of devotion.
The first act of the tragedy of Christ staged through the streets of the Beautiful City is the procession of the Addolorata.
The procession starts from the Carmine church at exactly noon, announced by the lament of the trumpet and the roll of the drum. Organized by the association of Maria Santissima del Monte Carmelo and of the Mercy Prayer and Death, whose associates wear traditional clothes, black sack, mozzetta and hood.
We return to the streets on Holy Thursday, when the church doors open for visits to the altars of the reposition, the better known "sabburchi".
Again silence envelops the labyrinth of alleys in old Gallipoli, no bells ring on Holy Friday. In the middle of the afternoon hundreds of faithful gather outside the church of the Santissimo Crocifisso of the brotherhood of coopers, which has always organized the Holy Friday procession.
The exit of the procession is announced by a penitent in a turquoise mozzetta and crown of thorns with troccola and discipline in hand, followed by four sentries with street lamps. One after the other, the mysteries of the procession parade. The last part of the procession is made up of the guild of fishermen in white shirts and blue mozzetta, devoted to the Madonna degli Angeli, who accompany the statue of the Virgin of Sorrows. Penitents with a protected identity, with their eyes turned to the ground, walk barefoot, dragging heavy crosses, for eight long hours until they return at midnight.
At 3 am on Holy Saturday, the silent procession of the Desolata leaves the church of the Madonna della Purità and crosses the streets of the city for nine hours, returning at noon.
Finally, on Easter day, the last joyful act that closes the period in joy is the burning of the Caremma.
A feather every seven days. The Caremme are puppets of old ladies who represent the mother of the Carnival.
For 40 days, from Ash Wednesday to Easter, she is a symbol of abstinence and mortification, acts as a warning to Gallipoli and awe the unsuspecting visitors. The old woman holds the spindle and the distaff in her hands, symbols of industriousness and the passing of time, and a "marangia", that is a bitter orange on which 7 capon feathers are inserted which are extracted one a week until Sunday Easter. At precisely noon, the Caremma is burned like the sadness it represents.