The Holy Week of Ceriana

From March 24th to 31st, 2024, an entire village in the Ligurian Riviera will be devoted to the Easter ritual in a unique atmosphere during the Holy Week of Ceriana.

The Holy Week is a particularly important moment throughout Liguria. But there are places where the devotion of the inhabitants is such that the mysticism of gestures, sounds, and words is indescribable even using modern media: nothing replaces the direct experience, at the source, of the events. One of these places is certainly Ceriana.

On March 24th, Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the traditional rites of Holy Week, an event that represents the highest and most engaging moment in terms of participation for the entire community of the village.

The protagonists are the age-old rites and traditions of the village: in the afternoon of Holy Thursday, the ancient alleyways resound with the somber sound of horns and tabulae. The former are built with the bark of a chestnut tree, cut and rolled on the same day of the procession, according to an art passed down from father to son, to create a long tube into which one blows. It, vibrating, creates a powerful roar that shakes the hearts. The tabulae are wooden boards on which one strikes with an iron stick to produce a deep sound.

In the evening, the traditional Lord’s Supper is held, and the Confraternities sing the Miserere, the Stabat Mater, and the penitential Lauds in front of the Altar of Repose. There are four Confraternities in Ceriana: the Blacks (Mercy, St. Andrew), the Greens (St. Martha), the Reds (St. Catherine), and the Blues (Visitation). During Good Friday, the confraternities march in procession along the village streets with torches and banners, performing ancient penitential chants, each with its own colour of robe and cape. In the Procession of the little angels, children dressed as angels parade carrying symbols of the Passion of Christ: the rooster, the nails, the hammer, the crown of thorns.

The choirs of Ceriana also perform their religious repertoire during the Vigil and the Solemn Easter Mass. The whole village rejoices in the celebration by joining in the songs, and, outside of solemn moments, gastronomic delicacies like frisciöi, an ancient sustenance of the Passion Week, are prepared in the square.

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