The Good Friday Procession (Processione del Venerdì Santo), known also as Procession of the Mysteries (Processione dei Misteri), is a religious manifestation that takes place every year in Procida, on the day of Good Friday, one day after the Holy Thursday and the Procession of the Apostles.
One of the most evocative and colorful in the whole Italy, the procession attracts thousands of people from Naples and the Flegrean archipelago, but also many tourists.
The Good Friday Procession was born in the 17th century, initiated by the Congregation of the Turchini, as a penitential procession. The participants wore a sackcloth and were hitting themselves with whips until they bled. The practice was later forbidden by the church.
The symbolism of the procession has been increasingly enriched over the centuries, until it reached its current form. Although the theme is always the same (the Life, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ), the procession is never similar to that of the previous year.
The procession consists of a series of chariots called Misteri (Mysteries), representing characters and scenes from the Bible, carried by young Procidans, from the fortified village Terra Murata, through the streets of the island, until they reach Marina Grande, the main harbour of Procida.
After a trumpet call and three drum beats, the procession starts. First march the flags representing the various brotherhoods of the island, followed by the Mysteries, then the girls with flowers and children dressed in black called little angels, who accompany the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows. The statue of the Dead Christ, a work by Carmine Lantricene from 1728, ends the procession.
In the afternoon, the statues returns to the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo, on top of Terra Murata, staging the so-called ceremony of Agony. The celebrations of the Good Friday closes in the evening with a torchlight procession that will bring back the statue of the Dead Christ to the Church of San Tommaso d’Aquino.
In 2019, the GOOD FRIDAY PROCESSION will take place on April 19. If you happen to be on the island at that time, consider yourself lucky, because you will witness a very interesting ceremony.