Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
16 Apr 2017

This photo essay documents the famous processions during the week before Easter, Holy Week, in Taranto. Since 1605, the devoted perform a traditional "pilgrimage" between the old and new city, visiting all the ancient curches in the city along the route. The two brotherhoods organizing the processions called: "le Perdune", "l'Addolorata," and "i Misteri".

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
14 Apr 2017

The priors of the brotherood of the grieving Madonna before the "alzata" of the statue.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
14 Apr 2017

The statue of grieving Madonna during the pilgrimage in the Isola (old city). The exit of Madonna from Church of Saint Domenico is considered from the Tarantinians the main event of the Holy Week.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
14 Apr 2017

The pilgrimage of the statue of Grieving Madonna, the main event of the Holy week and the church of Saint Domenico, where the statue stands for the rest of the year.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
14 Apr 2017

One of the three "crociferi" who bring the cross on the shoulder during the pilgrimage of Madonna.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
14 Apr 2017

The statue of fallen Christ during the procession of "Misteri" the holy Friday.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
14 Apr 2017

People bringing the statue of veiled Christ during the procession of "Misteri" the holy Friday.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
14 Apr 2017

People bringing the statue of veiled Christ during the procession of "Misteri" the holy Friday, it's the last statue in procession during the holy week.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
13 Apr 2017

"le Perdune", devoted people who ask the forgiveness to Jesus, near the curch of Carmine, in Borgo (new city) where they start their penance. They walk with barefoot using the traditional walking called "nazzecate", swinging slowly.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
13 Apr 2017

"le Perdune", devoted people who ask the forgiveness to Jesus, in Borgo (new city). They walk with barefoot using the traditional walking called "nazzecate", swinging slowly.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
13 Apr 2017

"le Perdune", devoted people who ask the forgiveness to Jesus, in Borgo (new city). They walk with barefoot using the traditional walking called "nazzecate", swinging slowly.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
13 Apr 2017

The famous processions of the Holy Week in Taranto.
Since the 1605 the devoted doing the traditional "pilgrimage" in the old and new city, visiting all the ancient curches in the city.
Two brotherhoods organizing the processions called: "le Perdune", "l'Addolorata" and "i Misteri".

In photo: "le Perdune", devoted people who ask the forgiveness to Jesus, all'Isola (old city). They walk with barefoot using the traditional walking called "nazzecate", swinging slowly.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
13 Apr 2017

"le Perdune", devoted people who ask the forgiveness to Jesus, going to the church of Duomo (main church) in the Isola (old city). They walk with barefoot using the traditional walking called "nazzecate", swinging slowly.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
13 Apr 2017

"Le Perdune", devoted people who ask the forgiveness to Jesus, in the church of Duomo (main church) in the Isola (old city). They walk with barefoot using the traditional walking called "nazzecate", swinging slowly.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
13 Apr 2017

"Le Perdune", devoted people who ask the forgiveness to Jesus, in the church of Duomo (main church) in the Isola (old city). A couple of "perdune" is called "posta", at every altar a posta give the change to the previous for the prayer, the change of the "posta" is a rite with secret words whispered to the fellow of brotherhood.

Thumb sm
Holy Week traditions in Taranto
Taranto
By Cosimo Attanasio
13 Apr 2017

The brotherhood of Saint Mary of Constantinople (born in 1580) in the old city during the march from Duomo (main church) to the Saint Josef church.

Thumb sm
"Easter-Jews": A Dying Ritual in Lith...
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
09 Apr 2015

Holy Saturday in Pievėnai (Mažeikiai district municipality, Lithuania).

Every Easter, in the small Lithuanian village of Pievenai, a group of young men in uniform guard the local church to ensure their yearly procession goes undisturbed.  However, they are not guarding against street gangs or violent criminals, they are guardian against what they call the “Easter Jews”; a group of young local men wearing masks and clothes resembling visual stereotypes of orthodox Jews.

 

Both groups of young men are part of a dying Lithuanian Easter ritual in which the people in uniform prevent the so-called “Easter Jews” from breaking into the church, stealing the crucifix, distracting worshipers from god, and disturbing the resurrection of Christ.

 

On the eve of Easter, the guards begin their night watch, as the young men dressed up as “Easter Jews” begin trying to infiltrate the church and disrupt the evening mass. The guard’s night watch continues through the night until the last worshipers have left the church. The guards then go to rest in a nearby house where they play cards and drink beer.

The next morning, at the crack of dawn, a beating drum awakens the villagers and summons them to the morning mass. The guards return to the church, along with the “Easter Jews”. After the service is held, worshipers and guards begin a procession in which they walk around the church three times. As this is happening, the “Easter-Jews” run around the church in the opposite direction a total of nine times, with the intention of disrupting the procession and the resurrection of Christ.

 

There are four teams that dress up as soldiers and they all wear different colored uniforms. The red uniforms represent the blood of Christ, the green ones symbolize regeneration and hope, the blue ones symbolize the ascension of Jesus, and the white ones represent the sheet in which the body of the Christ was wrapped.

 

According to the local priest Saulius Styra the origin of the tradition is not known: "It is said that virtually all the churches had such soldiers before the [Second World] War." However, locals say that the Pievenai is the only village that still practices the tradition.

 

Most Lithuanians today are unaware of this outdated tradition. For many of those who are aware of it, they regard it as a relic of the past and an outdated remnant of old-world fascist mentalities. For them it is out of step with modern times.

 

However, those participating do not see it that way. For them it is simply a local tradition derived from the bible that is not meant to offend or demonize anyone. “Easter-Jews are tempting believers,” explains Priest Styra, “they are equated to devils. And this scenario is taken out of Jesus’ Crucifixion [from the Bible]. In the region where Jesus was crucified, everyone was Jewish, and I do not see any humiliation of Jewish people in this play”.

 

Thumb sm
Despite Crisis Venezuelans Celebrate ...
Caracas
By Mariana Vincenti
07 Apr 2015

Caracas is touched by faith and devotion to a leader that requires no election bar love and unity

As a part of the Christian celebrations that take place in Venezuela during Holy Week, there’s one in Caracas called “El Nazareno de San Pablo” (The Nazarene of Saint Paul), the most popular of the processions made in honor of the image of Christ bearing the cross. The celebration took place in downtown Caracas on 1 April 2015 and attracted thousands of people.

Whatever the political storms to hit Venezuela since 1998, this procession has consistently drawn some of the country’s largest numbers of participants. In spite of the socio-economic crisis now plaguing Venezuelans, both their devotion to this tradition and their religious identity in general remain strong. Whatever the effects of Chavismo, these traditions have overcome the many other transformations their lives have undergone in this era.


This festival’s popularity dates to an old legend that a miracle saved thousands of people from a terrible disease. As the plague carried off thousands of lives, Holy Week arrived, and with it, several processions of different “Nazarenos” carrying the cross through various cities around the country. In the church of San Pablo in downtown Caracas, a wooden Christ was taken to the streets as it did each year. Suddenly, he got tangled in a lemon tree. When the lemons fell, people started eating them, and those who were sick began to heal. Word quickly spread, and more people came to eat the lemons from the miraculous lemon tree. Since then, thousands of people all over the country come to the procession that occurs every Wednesday of Holy Week. Most of the parishioners go dressed in purple, carrying crosses and a crown of thornsSome choose to express their devotion by walking barefoot down the path as an offer or payment for a promise.

Downtown Caracas celebrates in many ways and is flooded with colors portraying the different aspects of Venezuelans’ religious idiosyncrasy. Peddlers, among others, take advantage of the festivity to do a bustling business selling candles, incense, purple robes and other religious items. Everyone participates in a different way, from those who join the procession to kids and elders selling merchandise used by the parishioners involved in the ceremony.

The experience embraces a symphony of colors, scents, and sounds. The melody of a church organ meets the crying of the youngsters; the murmur of the prayers meets the discourse of the priest; purple robes, wooden crosses and yellow palm leafs dance to the scent of orchids and incense. From early morning to late at night, the “normal routine” of the booming capital pauses before these outpourings of Christian faith and devotion. Indeed, Caracas is a city of multiple faces. Amidst their convoluted lives, Caraqueños (people from Caracas) still seek the love and unity that these days are harder to come by. Indeed, the Wednesday of the Holy Week is hardly the only time that Caraqueños take to the streets from dawn ‘til dusk.  

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 2
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
04 Apr 2015

On Easter morning the commissionaire€“ reports to the priest that the cross was kept safe.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 4
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
04 Apr 2015

To show their hostility, the "Easter-Jews" frolick and run around the church in the opposite direction of the procession. The procession walks three times around the church while the "Easter-Jews" run around it reverse nine times.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 5
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
04 Apr 2015

An elderly woman at the Easter Mass gathering in Pievanai.

While the "Easter-Jews" ritual was commonplace in Lithuania before World War Two, it is now only held in the village of Pievanai.

Most of Lithaunia's once thriving Jewish population was exterminated during the Holocaust.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 7
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
04 Apr 2015

Villagers are summoned to morning Requiem Mass by a beating drum at the break of daw.

It is thought that the sound of the drum is the sound of joy. The sound also said to deter evil spirits who try to hinder the resurrection.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 8
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
04 Apr 2015

When there is no one left in the church, all the teams come back to the house: to sleep, to have a snack, or just relax. In the morning €“ before believers start to gather,€“ they are go on watch again.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 15
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

An "Easter-Jew" sews mayhem in the church and tries to steal the cross.

"I think that the festival is a beautiful custom of the village," explains Jonas, the man behind the mask. "My grandfather, my father, and my brother all took part in it and that is why I am participating too. For four years I had acted as a soldier only this year I tried the role of a Jew. It is a pleasure to play the soldier’s role, but I enjoyed being a Jew much more."

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 11
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

The commissionaire, soldiers and "Easter-Jews" play cards together as they feast.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 12
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

A soldier reacting quickly after hearing the color name of his team.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 13
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

Soldiers keep watch over the cross, which is the centerpiece of the entire ritual. It is the goal of the soldiers to protect the cross from the "Easter Jews" who are trying to steal it.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 14
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

The commissionaire, the leader of the soldiers, plays cards with team members.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 16
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

All teams gather in the church at the start of the ritual to salute the cross.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 17
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

The last smoke before the start of the ceremony.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 18
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

Before and during the night watch, soldiers are take turns drinking beer from the same glass.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 19
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

Before night watch youth gather in the house.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 21
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

A member of the green team assists his teammate in getting dressed.

Thumb sm
Lithuania Easter 21
Pievėnai
By Domantas Pipas
03 Apr 2015

In the house closest to the church, the coats of the soldiers are hanged before the feast. The white team (the coat hanging above) did not participate this year.

Thumb sm
EASTER IN THE FAVELA 01
Caracas, Venezuela
By Mariana Vincenti
02 Apr 2015

People from the community of Petare, one of Latin America's largest slums, take part in the Via Crucis organized by the parishioners of the "El Nazareno" sector in one of Caracas' poorest districts.