Passion of Our Lord: Good Friday Procession in Zebbug
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On Good Friday, late afternoon, many villages in Gozo commemorate the Passion of the Christ by an organised and very solemn procession of statues. Each of these statues represents a particular episode in the Passion of the Christ and is carried by pallbearers.
Between one statue and another (some ten in all) participants are dressed as biblical characters who take part in the procession in a dignified manner.Many processions include men in penitence bearing a cross and sometimes dragging chains as well tied to their bare feet as penitence.
A Passion Procession was held in Zebbug, Gozo, on Good Friday, with around 400 people taking part. The nine statues representing the Passion of Our Lord are the only set of statues in the Maltese islands done by one artist, namely, Chev. Agostino Camilleri.
One of the particular characteristics of this procession is the statue of Christ's Last Supper with his apostles. It has thirteen figures which are all dressed with clothes made from sheep's wool, which distinguishes this religious manifestation from others held in various villages around Gozo. Starting this evening, Easter Saturday or Easter Vigil, the parishes of Gozo, as in Malta, will gather the faithful in their churches for a solemn religious service and the traditional rituals of the blessing of water and fire.
The church lights are turned off, and each of the congregation will light a candle from the Pascal Candle, resulting in the whole church being bathed in the glow of flickering candles
Bells ring out across the island and the scriptures are read and sermons delivered before the celebrant blesses the holy water that is used for baptisms and the whole congregation confirms their faith by reciting the baptismal vows.
After the service the congregation may linger for a while in the church for a drink, or to take a piece of the traditional Figolla (Maltese almond Easter cake).
Easter Sunday is welcomed with bells ringing out across the islands, a traditional march with the statue of the risen Christ will take place in some parishes following the service. These traditional marches are usually accompanied by local bands and their popularity has remained undimmed through several centuries.
Photographs: Alain Salvary