Easter

The Resurrection of Christ and the “rush” of Sanpauluna.

Easter Sunday is the day of “I Sanpauluna”, giant paper mache’ images representing the twelve Apostles. This procession is performed with remarkable dedication by the association “Giuseppe Amico Medico”.

Until 1852 the Sanpauluna were performed by priests or monks. In 1846 it was decided to build these processional giants. The artist Michele Butera received a deposit for their construction one ounce and 25 tari, then another deposit of eight ounces and 28 tari deposit for their completion. The “Sanpaoloni” are giant figures with paper mache’ heads, hollow bodies with a frame covered by costumes. It is propelled by a person inside who can see through a “peek hole” at eye level. The size is representative of a big faith. The rhythmic gait of Sanpaoloni to the joyful sound of the band announces the end of sufferings which is the character and message of the Holy Week.

About 5:00 PM the representation begins , near the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie is the setting of the Upper Room, maintained by the Mercedarian fathers.
Firecrackers announce the most important moments of the Resurrection, from the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection to Mary Magdalene by the Angel, and to Mary’s arrival at the tomb with Apostles Peter and John.

Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. This is represented by the ancient altar set up at the chapel of “U Signuri Scitatu” (the Risen Lord). Finding the tomb empty, she immediately rushes to inform Mary, who is incredulous. Because of this, Mary Magdalene goes back and forth from tomb to Mary 3 times. This is marked by 3 separate detonations of firecrackers. At the third detonation, Mary goes with the Apostles Peter and John to the tomb. From a side street the statue of the risen Jesus finally meets His Mother.

The meeting of Christ with the Apostle Thomas is especially significant, as he doubts the Resurrection. The statue of Christ, carried on shoulders, meets the Apostle Thomas in front of the Church of the Rosary. St. Thomas’ statue hangs back behind the others to simulate his disbelief, but finally it will approach and will bow to the risen Christ.

The Gospel describes the arrival of Peter and John, and Thomas’ disbelief, while the meeting between Mother and Son has a popular belief and is mostly symbolic.

The “Varicedde Ritrovate” are 14 stations of the Cross – “Via Crucis” – from ancient times, nobody knows their origins. They had been lost but have recently been found. In ancient times they were carried in procession to the courtyard adjacent to the “Chiesa Maria Santissima della Catena”.

The Sampauluna and Varicedde have been maintained and protected by the cultural association “Giuseppe Amico Medico” who oversaw the restoration, since 1980. The Association loaned them to Taragona, Spain, in September 2006 for Saint Tecla’s Feast.