Settimana Santa di Alghero

Il rito del

In Alghero, the rites of the Holy Week involve several Italian and Catalan brotherhoods, andare organized by the Confraternita della Misericordia. The focus of the celebration is the 17thcentury wooden sacred image of the Crucified, Theo Sant Crist de la Misericòrdia, kept by theConfraternita del Gonfalone in the church of Misericordia.
The celebrations start with the Procession of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, which is held in thelate afternoon, at dusk, on Good Friday. At the light of the red torches - called farols - carried bythe women, the sacred image of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows moves from the church of saintFrancis along the streets of the historical center.
The Processò dels Misteris (Procession of the Mysteries) is held on Holy Tuesday; it leaves fromthe church of San Francesco and aims at the cathedral of Santa Maria, accompanying the sixstatues - carried on the shoulders - which represent the most significant moments of Jesus Christand which correspond to the five sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary.
The celebrations continue on Maundy Thursday with the two ceremonies de las cerques edell'Arboramento. The procession de Las Cerques moves from the church Misericordia carryinga small statue of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, which - wandering from church to church -is desperately looking for her son. The search has no outcome, and thus the procession sadlyaccompanies the Madonna to the church of Misericordia. At the end of the rite, the Santcristusstarts, accompanied by a long, soft and suggestive procession, which ands at the cathedral for theRite of 'Arborament. The Santcristus reaches the cathedral for the solemn ceremony of the raisingof the cross by the brotherhood of Misericordia. From that moment, and for the whole subsequentday, the Crucifix - watched in turns by the brothers - is worshipped by a crowd who gather around itin mournful meditation.
Good Friday celebration starts around 8.00 p.m. in the cathedral. A procession aimed at the churchof Santa Maria, moving from the church of Misericordia and proceeding along the alleys of the oldtown carries - besides the tools which are required to release Jesus Christ from the Cross (tongs andhammer) also the ladders two of the four barons will use to perform the operation.
The most intensive, dramatic moment of this day is the rite of Desclavament, by which thecollectivity revives every year the sorrowful moment of the deposition. the rite starts as soon as theprocession enters the cathedral The preacher starts a sermon which recalls the life of Jesus Christ ina paced rhythm, stopping on the crucial moments of the Passion, until he reaches the culminatingmoment of the celebration, i.e. the deposition. The procession then starts, and the sacred image istaken along the streets of the town, illuminated by farols and by the lights of the street lamps, which- in that occasion - are covered in a red cloth. The rite concludes late in the night, at the oratory ofMisericordia.

In the morning of Easter Sunday, at around 10. a.m., two separate processions come out from thechurches of San Francesco and of Misericordia, accompanying - respectively - the Virgin andthe Triumphant Christ. They then meet, in the midst of the cheering crowd; the salvo's of gunsand crackers and - in sign of glory - the cheerful ringing of the bells in all the churches. the twostatues bow to each other and the two processions merge into one, continuing for a short itineraryaccompanied by the guilds of the craftsmen (gremi) with their banners.

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