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Le Vare

Typical Vara in Caltanissetta during the Holy Week

You will certainly have to attend a procession. Perhaps for young people these folk traditions may be boring, not very interesting, but the story is very different. Understanding how an entire city can move, for several days, during an event like this can create an inimitable experience. Surely it is the case of what happens in Caltanissetta in the Easter period with the parade of the Vare and the Maestranze.

In the days leading up to Easter Sunday, the performances follow one another in the small town of the center of Sicily. On Good Friday, the Via Crucis which represents the Calvary of Christ has the city center as a stage with the Silvio Pellico stairway. Some actors identify themselves with the chi part of ancient Roman, some of Jewish and others of common people present at the time. The conclusion with a solemn mass enshrines the successful crucifixion in the representation.

The following day in the Cathedral square is the turn of the Maestranze. But what are they actually? All citizens, divided into different professions, parade through the city elegantly dressed and carrying their own tributes to the Christian deity. Blacksmiths, bakers, barbers, carpenters and butchers parade through the city streets concluding their journey inside the Cathedral where there are Le Vare.

But it is during the evening that the real show comes on. Le Vare, plasterboard buildings depicting the various scenes of the Passion of Christ, parade accompanied by bands of musicians on the streets of the city center. The procession literally attracts the entire town, including a good part of tourists. The oldest Vare, The Translation, date back to 1853 – works of Neapolitan artisan from an anonymous. Even today these moving works of art belong to different families of the city of Caltanissetta.

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