THE HOLY WEEK The Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday procession. Olive branches are blessed, some are burned and the ashes will be used in the celebration of Ash Wednesday the following year. The festival was born in Jerusalem in the fifth century to commemorate Jesus' entry into the city greeted by a crowd of simple people and children with palms and olive branches.
Holy Thursday commemorates the institution of Eucharist at the Last Supper. During the celebration of the Eucharist (Lord's Supper) we repeat the ritual washing of the feet that evokes the gesture of humility when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet before his death.
The Holy Thursday evening is dedicated to visit the “Sepolcri” or tombs in every parish. They are adorned with candles, flowers and potted wheat seedlings germinated in the dark.The tombs are considered as a mortuary chapel containing the body of Christ.
The Holy Friday remembers the Passion and death of Christ on the Cross. In the evening there is the ceremony of the Adoration of the Cross and retraces steps in fourteen Stations. Solemn religious processions are held in many towns on Friday. Parade participants are often dressed in traditional ancient costumes and celebrate the Via Crucis.
“ The Pappamusci” pilgrimage in some towns barefooted and hooded, walk “nazzicando”, following the slow rhythm of the wooden “traccole” playing with iron beats to evoke Christ’s death: it is a mourning procession during which the so-called “two seas city” seems to be temporally suspended for two long days.
“The Quaremma” is a puppet, typical of the Salento popular costumes and symbol of the beginning of Lent and the end of Carnival. It is exposed on the balconies and on the roofs of the houses in many villages of Salento. It depicts an old ugly and thin woman, dressed all in black in mourning for the death of the Carnival. In his right hand a piece of wool with a spindle, symbols of hard work and flowing time and in the left a bitter orange with seven chicken feathers tucked into it as the number of the missing Sundays from Lent to Easter. The bitter orange represents suffering and the seven feathers, one for each week of abstinence and sacrifice that precedes Easter Sunday, are taken away at each passage of the week. The Quaremma is removed from the terrace and hung by a wire on a pole. When the sound of bells announces the Resurrection, it is burned and with the fire starts the period of purification and salvation.