Friday, March 10, 2006

Easter in Modica Ragusa Sicily - Maronna vasa vasa

Sicily is full of tradition and folklore. Easter is no different with celebrations that span the two weeks before Easter Sunday. I found one that I enjoyed immensely. Sicily has been conquered several times and assimilated cultures of both the European and Arab worlds. This is a proud people, extremely strong in their culture; they seem to be interwoven with the land itself.

The festivities of the Maronna Vasa Vasa, in local dialect the “Madonna that finds her son”, spreads throughout the city and enveloping all present. Early Sunday morning the statue of Christ is brought out of the church Santa Maria and a procession carries him through the city. The Madonna is brought out half an hour later wearing a black robe. Another procession forms and carries her through the city looking for the Christ.
Children are excited, waiting at their windows. The sounds of the ever growing fill the streets. “Mamma, ci sono!” They’re here! Mamma let’s go. The onlookers join with the processions as they pass. The banker, the politician, the factory worker, the homemakers, all are equal as they celebrate their traditions. The band plays, the priests lead the group and they wind through the city. Dresses bought just for Easter, as each person dresses their best. Flowers are laid before the Madonna that searches every corner of the city.

Exactly at noon the two meet in the piazza in front of the church. The black robe is thrown off and doves with blue ribbons are released. The crowd cheers in unison as the Madonna kisses her son. Easter has arrived, and the families return to their home to feasts of traditional foods.

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