Good Friday solemn procession held in Xaghra
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Large crowds watched the Good Friday Procession in Xaghra as it left from the Basilica, passing through the streets of the village and returning to Victory Square. It was accompanied by the Victory Band playing funereal marches.
Many people take part in the solemn procession, dressed to represent characters from the Bible and it also includes are ten statues depicting various stages of the Passion on the Lord.
Joining in the procession were men in penitence either carrying a cross or dragging chains tied to their bare feet.
There are many religious events taking place across the island of Gozo this weekend, particularly tomorrow, Easter Sunday.
Easter is the greatest feast in the Christian calendar since it commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, a festival celebrating the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and includes various events of religious and traditional activities, such as processions, pageants, exhibitions and folklore.
Today, 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 will be 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.
Following the service, in some churches the congregation may linger for a while for a drink, or to take a piece of the traditional Figolla (Maltese almond Easter cake).
Bells ring out across the islands to welcome Easter Sunday. 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 by Alain Salvary