Strong & Passionate (& Loco)

April 4, 2013

Easter is long gone, I know.

But not here in Sicily. After an intense week of processions and candles and dirge-tolling bells and Roman soldiers on horseback and skies aflame with fireworks and Easter lambs and ricotta tarts and cassata cakes, we’re just starting to come to our senses.

Sicilians confirmed, once again, that they’re a strong and passionate people.

And absolutely loco.

In the little village of Ferla, Jesus and Mary wafted out of churches at the opposite ends of town on the shoulders of a dozen hale and hearty Sicilians. The Madonna went uphill; Jesus down. When they got within sight of each other, Jesus broke into a joyful downhill sprint toward Mary.

Easter Celebration in Ferla, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Twelve pairs of legs were scrambling, centipede-like, to balance his incredible weight while flying downhill. Onlookers gaped just inches away.

I had been casually snapping pictures–la-dee-da–when the stampede began. Aghast, I was–a straniera innocente more or less in their path.

Easter in Ferla, Sicily, copyright jann huizenga

But all is well that ends well, and the morning ended with fireworks streaming through blue skies, tears streaming down cheeks, and kisses & hugs galore. Easter in Ferla, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

I am sending you some virtual ones. xxxxxxxxxoooooooooo


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24 comments to Strong & Passionate (& Loco)

  • Beautiful.
    Sending you many hugs this moment, Jann. XxOOO

  • Jann, che meraviglia. Such drama. and I love that the scene unfolded under such a brilliant blue sky as you say and capture so characteristically well. A beautiful post, full of love on both sides of the camera. Un abbraccio, xx

  • Would have loved to have witnessed that scene of Jesus careening down the hill towards Mary–sounds like a movie scene– but your words conjure the picture very well. “Loco” is inevitably part of what it means to be passionate! I particularly love the last picture showing the people on the balconies, accented against that beautifully age-textured wall.

    • Jann

      The people hanging over the balconies are the best part of all, I think. Some get so crowded–I just hope they’re strong.

  • Sam

    “Bowled Over by Jesus” sounds like one of those Sunday sermon topics they advertise in front of rural Protestant churches in this country.

  • John Schinina

    Ciao Jann, Born and raised in New York City, we had processions as viewed in Ragusa,in the Italian areas, apparently the custom carried itself to the America’s.

    • Jann

      It’s interesting, John, that w/ regard to some customs, Sicilian-Americans have kept them more alive than Sicilians themselves…I’m thinking of the St Joseph’s tables, for instance.

  • Liz

    You may be in for a few more of these amazing processions…Easter began on Easter Sunday and last for 50 days. I love all these celebrations! Get your camera ready!

  • Aida

    Cant stop laughing… Funny i get the whole thing…went to catholic schools….great story , grazie

    • Jann

      I went to Protestant schools, Aida, where they had a much more “subdued” version of Easter.:)

  • I’m guessing something must have gotten lost in the translation of this rite, Jann, for I have no clue what it signifies! We don’t have anything like that here, when people race statues together. Hmm, sounds interesting, though, and I’m glad you escaped being run over!

    • Jann

      Oh, I’m sorry Debbie. I assumed too much in writing this… Jesus and Mary haven’t seen each other since his crucifixion, so on Easter morning they meet each other on the streets of Sicily, in many Sicilian villages. (It’s called, in Sicilian “u scuntru” or something like that and means “the encounter”).

  • Katie

    I’m sorry I missed you there! The festivities went on for me waayyy late, but I hope you enjoyed the procession and the cafe 🙂

  • Glorious images Jann, I know we will return to Sicily when my in laws come over from Australia for a visit. Maybe even before then if I have my way x

  • This is sooo amazing to repeat(solidgoldcreativity) run over by Jesus. That is funny + amazing.

  • haha, you mean you were almost run over by Jesus? Too funny.

    • Jann

      These festivities are not at all for tourists–very local–so I seemed to be the only one who didn’t know to keep out of the way…

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