Easter Processions in Sorrento: historical hints

In Sorrento, the procession of the Hooded People taking place during the Holy Week are two: the White Procession, also known as Procession of Our Lady of Sorrows, put on stage by the Archconfraternity of Santa Monica and the Black Procession, or also procession of Dead Christ, performed along the town streets by the Archconfraternity of Morte ed Orazione.

The tradition of Easter processions in Sorrento dates back almost to 1300: evidences testify the usage of parades of hooded people who flogged themselves along the streets as a sign of penitence. The performance of processions had a remarkable importance also during the Spanish domination in the Kingdom of Naples.

Being expressions of religious faith but also interesting folkloristic performances, the processions of the Holy Week have, therefore, a very ancient tradition and are organized and cured in any detail still today. Famous all over the world for the mystical and suggestive atmosphere they can create, they are surely an enchanting show to see during a holiday in Sorrento.

The Sepulchres

Among the Holy Week celebrations which culminate in the Good Friday processions, there is the Holy Sacrament Adoration on Holy Thursday afternoon which is done visiting all main Sorrento’s churches. It is known as ‘Sepulchres visit’.

A very followed Sorrento’s tradition, the visit to the Sepulchres attract numerous believers and tourists who visit the main churches’ altars where the sepulchres are prepared on Holy Thursday afternoon.

The visit is made in a silent atmosphere and consists of making prayers and admiring the sepulchres which are prepared by parishioners with flowers and grain.

Bells do not ring, churches are not illuminated: only the Sepulchre under the altar has some lights and becomes the place where simple gifts express the religious feeling of people. Among these symbols we find bread, wine, germinated grain and flowers. The Sepulchres are displayed until Good Friday to allow people to complete the visit in every church.

Festival of Sant’ Anna

Marina Grande of Sorrento lies in an enchanted hamlet, inhabited by fishermen and characterized by a small sandy shore and a few bathing establishments. It is one of the best-known places in Sorrento, made famous by the renowned film by Dino Risi Pane, Amore e…, and boasts almost a three thousand-year- old history. Every year, on July 26th, the inhabitants of this enchanted village celebrate the festival of St. Anna.

A much-awaited event, the festival of Sant’ Anna is a date joining the faith and folklore of Sorrento people. Sant’ Anna is the Patron Saint of the hamlet of Marina Grande and also the protector of pregnant women.

Music, games, tastings and characteristic religious rites, including a suggestive procession in which the statue of the Saint goes along the streets of the town, characterize this festival every year.

The celebrations in the honour of the Patron saint of the Hamlet end in a superb firework display at above the sea.