Centuries of costumes, songs about the Passion and gestures set aside the present to best evoke a past brought to life: the Roman soldiers, the Jews, Christ and the penitents wind through the streets and churches of the village, accompanied by processions, where the polychromatic garments worn by the confraternities stand out. The celebrations commence on the Sunday before Easter, when olive branches and palms are blessed, culminating on the day when the Lord’s resurrection is celebrated. Even if the rituals within the Borghi Degli Angeli may differ in some aspects, they are united by a great attachment to tradition and to religious beliefs. On Holy Thursday, the last supper is celebrated, usually accompanied by the washing of feet and blessing the specially-prepared bread that is then delivered to the faithful. On Good Friday, the pathos reaches its peak: the ancient sound of the toccareri announces the death of Jesus Christ, as the Via Crucis traces the painful stations leading to the crucifixion and the chants dignifyingly illustrate the suffering of the Lord, which spreads amongst the people. Holy Saturday sees the penitential processions take place, before the most anticipated event on Easter Sunday: the Cunfrunta. This celebratory ritual represents the moment in which the Madonna and Jesus Christ (personified by the statues) meet along the main streets of the villages. This arouses great joy, generating fervent cheers, followed by performances by the local bands. Not to be missed are the traditional Easter sweets, the famous cuzzupe. This delicacy is likely of Eastern origins and represents the end of the Lenten fast whilst its main ingredient – the egg – symbolises the resurrection of Christ.
Holy week is one of the most evocative moments to experience Calabrian ancient religious tradiotions, where one can be witness to religious celebrations bearing a strong identitary value, the intense involvement of the population and visitors alike.