Abruzzo offers an extraordinary heritage of traditions and popular festivals that unwind throughout the year and which allow visitors to experience unique and unforgettable experiences.
The Easter rites that attract thousands of visitors to Abruzzo are particularly evocative and exciting.
During Holy Friday parades commemorating the Passion and Death of Christ parade along the streets of many towns; in Chieti, through the streets of the center, the procession of the Dead Christ preceded, at the exit of the Cathedral of San Giustino, from the melody of the Miserere composed in 1740 by the master Selecchi and performed by an orchestra of about 200 elements.
In Lanciano the memorial procession, characterized by the presence of a barefoot confrere carrying the Cross on his shoulder in memory of Simon of Cyrene who helped Christ in his ascent to Golgotha, parades between recollection and emotion on the streets of the city. Even in the capital of L’Aquila the solemn procession of the Dead Christ is repeated, while a special mention deserves the Easter rites that take place in the city of Sulmona. Here the Holy Week is marked by rituals that are repeated the same every year and that attract thousands of tourists and faithful to the city. The Holy Friday Procession edited by the Trinity Brotherhood is exciting and evocative; between the lights of the torches and the surreal silence parade along the alleys of the old town the statues of the dead Christ and sorrowful Madonna whose slow and painful pace underlined by the “struscio”, characteristic and swinging step held by the participants, is accompanied by the voices of the singers who sing along the way the notes of the Miserere.
The culmination of the Easter rites of the city of Sulmona and of the entire region is the one that takes place in the splendid setting of Piazza Garibaldi where every year, under the marvelous eyes of the crowd, the rite of the “Madonna that runs off into the square” is repeated. The commemoration of the encounter between the Mother and the Resurrected Son is entrusted to the Confraternity of St. Mary of the Tomb, which bears the burden and honor of accompanying the statue of the Virgin in her journey towards the Son, between flights of doves and emotion. Related to Easter rites is also the ritual of the Talami, a parade of living paintings inspired by episodes of the Old and New Testaments, each of which bears on the top a little girl who personifies the Madonna, towed along the historic center of Orsogna on the morning of Monday Easter and the evening of August 15th.
Famous and unique in its kind is then the Feast of Serpari, which takes place in Cocullo (AQ) every May in honor of San Domenico Abate. The statue of the saint parades through a huge crowd enveloped by snakes previously captured by the “serpari” and then returned to their natural habitat at the end of the celebrations. Another peculiarity of the party is the practice of pulling with a tooth the string of a bell placed inside the church to protect against toothache.
During the summer months many historical re-enactments animate the villages of Abruzzo, from “Ju Catenacce” di Scanno, a nuptial procession that allows you to admire the gold and sartorial tradition of the place and relive the traditions of the past, up to the majestic Giostra Cavalleresca di Sulmona that goes staged in the splendid main square of the city and that allows you to immerse yourself in the renaissance atmosphere of the competitions and the processions.
In L’Aquila every year, since 1294, the ritual of forgiveness is repeated, instituted by Pope Celestine V to grant the plenary indulgence to anyone, confessed and communicated, who had entered the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio during the 28th of 29 August.
In the small village of Pacentro, at the beginning of September, the “Race of the Gypsies” is staged, a barefoot race performed by the local youths in honor of the Madonna of Loreto. From the top of a rocky ridge, after the street sign, the barefoot participants descend from the mountain to the Vella stream and still running up the streets of the village and reach the altar of the Madonna, where they collapse exhausted.
Even the winter season reserves evocative shows, often framed by the white blanket of the snow that falls copious in mountain areas. Every year in Rivisondoli the Living Nativity Scene is staged, with the participation of numerous characters and figures that recall the sacred history between music and songs.