Friday, 18 July 2008

High Days

Tuesday saw the patronal festival of the local town and the local saint, San Guido, was there in person as indeed he is for every festival. He was the first Bishop and would have been 1004 this year. They keep him in an suitably elaborate glass-fronted casket and, annually, he's taken out for a trip around the town and then the procession, accompanied by the great and the good, return to the Duomo for a serious Mass. The casket is quite heavy and there is much theatrical puffing, panting and brow-mopping amongst the carriers, particularly when there are women nearby. You can just see San Guido, all four foot of him, in his box below the priestly action. All the little men like little chocolates in their sashes are the Mayors of all the towns and villages in the diocese. The two carabiniere on sentry duty keep their peaked hats on and their guns in their holsters even in Church. Most odd. Even odder are the worshippers who at the end of the Mass rush forward, jostle and strain, elbow and barge to touch, just touch, his casket. Almost primitive.

Local villages also compete to see who has can bring the biggest, heaviest and most decorated crucifix for the procession. This lot are packing up their black Jesus, complete with lots of lovely jangly gold and silver foil.


Peter Ashley said...

You know, sometimes I want to convert to Roman Catholicism. They just seem to have so much fun. All that ritual, jolly waxworks and and swinging incense all over the place on ten foot ropes. I've just read in "An Appalling Talent" that Ken Russell changed sides rather than being born into it, and look what he got up to.

Fred Fibonacci said...

And then you get let off. Have to say, they could be on to something.

A F-A said...

Conversion to Catholicism? Well, to paraphrase Groucho, "I wouldn't belong to any club that would have Tony Blair".

The scariest thing I have ever seen was Bilbao on All Souls Night - more popularly, the evening of the Day of the Dead - when all the lads from the local RC Schools and Seminaries run round in their Ku Klux Klan outfits...NOT jolly!!!!