Easter in Puglia
The Holy Week in Puglia is one of the most important periods of the year: It’s a period full of faith and religiosity that would leave even the most skeptical in disbelief. Because behind every event that takes place in this particular period of the year there is much more than a series of rituals and processions, there is history, tradition, which is increasingly enriched rather than lost.
Not surprisingly it would seem that this year the most popular Easter destination is precisely Puglia. The famous search engine Trivago confirms, which would have revealed that the most clicked and booked destinations, especially from foreign users, were primarily Lecce, Bari and Alberobello, followed by Fasano, Polignano a Mare, Gallipoli, San Giovanni Rotondo, Otranto, Ostuni, Monopoli, Castellana Grotte and Martina Franca.
So, if the saying "Christmas with yours, Easter with whoever you want" is true, Puglia would seem to reflect the will and choice of many and we are proud of it!
For sure in this period there is no need to get bored and the events to be attended are many. First of all you will find the evocative processions that unfold for miles through the streets of the villages and towns of the entire region. Among the most impressive we mention those of Taranto that take place on Thursday and Good Friday, respectively that of the Addolorata and that of the Mysteries. We could say also that they go on for 15 hours maintaining a very slow trend that local people define "a nazzecate". The real spectacle is to admire the synchronous rocking with which all the confreres proceed, strictly barefoot and hooded, led by the troccolante (who plays the wooden musical instrument with a typical rattling sound), who is supposed to close the rituals on Saturday morning knocking three times with the tip of his staff at the door of the Chiesa del Carmine: this is undoubtedly one of the most solemn and exciting moments of the whole procession.
Not less significant are the representations of the Living Passion that are held especially in Valle d'Itria and in the area of Bari. In this regard, we mention the show in San Marco in Lamis called Fracchie, enormous torches reaching a 15 meters length; or the Procession of the Holy Mysteries in Ceglie made unique by the many of human simulacra - there are only 56 of them in the last edition - all commissioned from the best paper-makers of Lecce and Bari, or that of the Mysteries and the Tomb of Christ of Gallipoli, preceded by the lighting of the street lamps and the sound of trozzule (ancient wooden instruments with metal knockers), drums and from the trumpets. Sui generis the Living Passion through the streets of Alberobello; now in its 41st edition, more than a hundred people in costume, accompanied by torches and horses, will parade through the enchanting stone streets.
The lay Confraternities based in different places in Puglia keep up all these representations; just think that in 2012 the number of confreres present in Puglia reached 250,000 for a total of 911 associations: thanks to these partnerships, popular traditions are perpetuated over the years, also engaged in works of charity and solidarity.
In addition to the unique processions of its kind and programmed everywhere in the region, the visit to the Sepulchers on Holy Thursday evening is one of the most heartfelt traditions. Also known as the altars or, to use the correct term, the chapels of reposition, solemnly decorated in the sense of mourning and condolences to preserve the Eucharist instituted by the Lord during the Last Supper. Tradition wants that the Sepulchers are visited in odd numbers, three, five or seven; even if the origin and the reason of this custom are not well known, it is thought that it can recall the Holy Trinity (3), the Wounds of Jesus (5) and the Sorrows of Mary (7).
It doesn’t matter whether you are believers or not, that you consider yourselves as atheists or you are driven by an unshakable faith, because what you breathe in Puglia in these days goes beyond any belief and every religion.
Every village, every town, every city is filled with history and tradition, we are united in a particular atmosphere, of solidarity and participation, and for a moment we find ourselves all protagonists and figures of a wonderful show.