Holy Week Traditions
Southern Europe across the Mediterranean has several similarities in custom and tradition which extends from food to festivities - probably nothing is more intense to the religious and profane festivities leading and related to Easter, the greatest of feasts in the Roman Catholic tradition. Throughout the centuries these traditions have changed and assimilated from each other - a great legacy can be drawn between three countries with their particular regions - mainly, Sicily in Italy, the Analusian region of Spain and the Maltese islands. Unique traditions can be found in a number of regions which probably due to seclusion in the past have led to the formation of an independent custom of events, attire and celebrations, yet all drawn to the same Roman Catholic roots - Marsala's Veroniche, seemingly out of something from the Balkans or the Middle East, San Fratello's Gudei, very much a grotesque re-interpretation of the attire worn during Holy Week in most of these places and Prizzi's Abballu di lu Diavuli (Dance of the Devils), very much like something coming out of the Ancient Greek Theatre in the attire of the Devil are cases in point - Trapani more traditionalist holds the oldest of Italy's processions and also the longest in the 24 hour Processione dei Misteri on Good Friday, with figures similar to those found in Southern Spain yet in a sombre interpretation. The culmination of Southern Spain's Holy Week is definitely the processions of Seville, the longest in the world, almost going on for a whole week 24/7 - (yet, a main difference lies in the fact the the week is more festive in mood, with bars open, people eating and drinking and also the representation of the Statues, with Christ never crouched and in pain but rather victorious) - the Saeta singers are also very much uniquely attributed to the region, yet in regions of Sicily one finds such similar musical manifestations, normally less formal which seem to remind one of origins in Arab laments, possibly leading back to the fall of Granada in 1492 - these have in turn influenced a lot similar traditions in Italy especially the south and most particularly Sicily, still felt in spectacular celebrations of Holy Week on this Mediterranean Island in the processions held on the mountain towns of Enna, Mussomeli and Aidone. The island of Malta, lying in close proximity to both Sicily and Southern Spain, have drawn a lot from these influences most evidently from its neighbour island of Sicily.