GOOD FRIDAY IN ENNA PART II

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GOOD FRIDAY IN ENNA

PART II

At five o’ clock in the evening, the Confraternity of the Passion moves from the Church of Saint Leonard and picks up from their churches one by one all the other confraternities. Therefore, it leads the procession. The others follow according to a fixed order.

All the brethren converge to the cathedral and from there they file to the cemetery. The municipal band, the chorus, and the city authorities follow the procession.

Every year, many tourists from all over the world come to Enna to see this event. Apparently, they are mesmerized by the parade. I have seen many of them following the procession hand in hand as if they were townspeople. It seems that they are enraptured with religious fervor.

Actually, a kind of mystic energy transpires from the procession. For what reason? Good Friday is not a mere folk event nor a rite. It is expression of intimate religiosity, innate in the soul of the people of Enna.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

 

GOOD FRIDAY IN ENNA

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GOOD FRIDAY IN ENNA

PART I

In Enna, on Good Friday the procession is made up by fifteen confraternities (brotherhoods). On this day, about two thousand five hundred brethren of all ages file along the streets.

Their attire consists of a white alb, a white girdle, a white hood, a crown of wicker, and a cloak the color of which varies from one confraternity to another.

The oldest confraternity is that of the Most Holy Savior. Its members are granted the privilege to carry on their shoulders the feretory containing the statue of Jesus’s dead body. The color of their cloak is cream with a red cross which seems to evoke that of the Knights Templar. It was established in 1261. It is the oldest in Sicily. It is housed in the church having the same name.

The confraternity of Our Lady of Sorrows was founded relatively recently, but its members enjoy the privilege of carrying on their shoulders the litter of Our Lady. Their cloak is violet with a heart pierced by sever swords. The confraternity is housed in the church having the same name.

The confraternity of the Passion of Our Lord was established in 1660. It has the privilege to carry in procession the litter with the statue of Jesus on Palm Sunday. Furthermore, on Good Friday the brethren bear on trays the signs of the Passion of Jesus: the nails, the crown of thorns, the dice, the spear, and even an alive rooster. Their cloak is purple-red with the effigy of Jesus. The confraternity is housed in the church of Saint Leonard.

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The other not less important confraternities are: The New Woman; The Holy Ghost; Saint Joseph; Holy Souls in Purgatory; The Holy Sacrament; The Virgin; Madonna of the Rosary; Madonna of Valverde (a quarter of Enna); Our Lady of Grace; Sacred Heart of Jesus; Our Lady of Visitation; The Most Holy Crucifix of Pergusa; Saint Anne.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

A HINDU FESTIVAL

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A HINDU FESTIVAL

Walking on the beach in the evening, I saw a small temple that had a festival atmosphere.

Around the temple there were vendors of flowers, bananas, sweets, and toys. There was also music and drum rolls.

Made curious, I walked to the small temple. There was a statue of a god inside.

What is the name of this god?” I asked an old man who looked like a local.

His name is Someshwar.” He answered.

What does Someshwar mean?”

It means ‘protector of the borders.’ All fishermen, whatever religion they have, worship him, because they go far away in the ocean. They believe that Someshwar protects them from the perils of the sea.”

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Behind the temple there is a tree. I saw somebody put offerings on it. Is it a sacred tree?” I asked.

Not sacred.”

So, why people put garlands of flowers, coconuts, and bananas on its trunk and light candles in front of it?”

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Nobody can see the real God. Anything can become God. If somebody worships a tree and puts offerings on it, other people will follow him and the tree will become holy. All religions are made by followers.” The old man said.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

HOW TO REMOVE THE HEX

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HOW TO REMOVE THE HEX

Aunt Filippa opened the cupboard and took out a soup plate and a small cup. She put the plate on my head, asking my mother to hold it fast. Then, she poured some water into the plate and olive oil into the small cup. Finally, she dipped her finger into the small cup of olive oil and dripped some into the water.

I remained with that plate on my head for several minutes. Aunt Filippa was not convinced, and from time to time she dripped more olive oil. Then she scrutinized the shape of the drops.

The drops could take different forms. They could remain as they were, become wider, or even disappear completely. If the drop maintained the same shape it had when it was dripped, it meant that there was no hex on me. If the drop became wider, there was a real hex. Sometimes the drop disappeared completely, and that meant that there was a lot of hex. In my case, the drops disappeared, and for that reason Aunt Filippa dripped olive oil many times.

This boy has a lot of hex,” she said, “but I’ll take it out of him. I swear!”

To do that she made special signs around the plate and said a special prayer, which she had learned from her mother on Christmas Eve. It was a secret prayer that had been handed down from generation to generation. She then concluded, saying that I was now hex free thanks to her prayer.

At the time I barely understood her method of removing the hex, but with passing time I realized that what Aunt Filippa had done probably had a scientific basis. Words, thoughts, and feelings have vibrations. Everything vibrates in the universe. It means that each kind of vibration affects both organic and inorganic matter, including the shape of the drops that Aunt Filippa used to diagnose the hex. In other words, if my body vibrations were good the drops assumed a certain shape; otherwise they got broad or sometimes disappeared.

(Excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History)

Ettore Grillo, author of:

A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE – PART III

 

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OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

PART III

Pilgrims and visitors flocked into the square in front of the new basilica. I saw people, who from their olive complexion seemed to be natives or crossbreeds, carrying litters full of flowers. Some of them laid the litters on the floor and staged devotional songs and dances. I have to say that few times in my life have I seen such beautiful scenery. After having danced and sung, the pilgrims went into the basilica with their litters covered with flowers. I followed them and entered the basilica from one of the gates. It was a round church with an altar opposite the many rows of pews, and the holy image of the Virgin Mary was over it.

I sat on one of the pews and watched the shrine from a distance. Meanwhile, other groups continued to arrive in the basilica and headed for the back of the altar. I followed them and arrived at a moving walkway below the shrine. I admired the holy image for a few seconds while the walkaway moved.

Then I went out of the new basilica. I spent all day at the Villa de Guadalupe and visited the churches and buildings scattered in the area.

The old basilica housed Juan Diego’s cloak until 1974. A museum stands not far from the small old chapel erected on the same spot where the apparition happened. There were many exhibits in the museum. I lingered in a room full of many paintings that portrayed the Virgin of Guadalupe. The painters had tried to make a copy of the original image, but none of them had been able to reproduce it perfectly. Then I stood in front of a photograph, which was an exact copy of the original and had been approved by the ecclesiastic organs. While I was admiring the copy, I heard a voice behind me.

Who knows what the number eight symbolizes?” said a man who was leading a group and who had the air of being a professor.

Nobody in his group answered his question. “The number eight symbolizes the infinite,” I answered.

Exactly!” said the professor. “Now look at Mary’s pink robe. There are eight four-leaf clovers on it.”

Yes, I thought, the Virgin Mary is infinite, beyond space and time. She always has been and always will be. That means that she was on the Hill of Tepeyac long before the Spanish came to Mexico, even though she was worshipped under a different name.

(Excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History)

Ettore Grillo, author of:

A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

THE FEAST OF THE PATRON SAINT IN ENNA

The pagan worship of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Kore was deeply rooted in Enna until the fifteen century when St. Pancras’ preaching put an end to the multiplicity of cults. At the time, besides the Gentiles and the Catholics there were many Muslim families in Enna.

In 1412 the municipality sent a delegation to Venice to buy a statue that replaced the previous one of the goddess Demeter.

As they couldn’t find an effigy portraying the Madonna alone, they bought a wooden sculpture of Maria holding the baby Jesus and shipped it to Sicily by sea.

According to the legend, when the statue arrived at the slopes of Enna, it became so heavy that it was impossible to move it. Then, the wheat reapers came from the nearby fields and put the statue on their shoulders. With them it became light, and they took it to the cathedral. Ever since that time the simulacrum of the Madonna is carried in procession on a gilded litter only by those belonging to the peasantry. People call it ‘The Golden Ship’. The bearers are around one hundred and consider a great honor to carry the Virgin Mary in procession. The fixed, numbered places under the beams that support the litter are assigned to the descendants of the reapers who first brought the statue to Enna and are passed down from generation to generation; therefore it happens that tall and short brethren carry the litter side by side, with the result that some bear much weight and others less or almost nothing. For this reason the ‘Golden Ship’ proceeds with a slanting pace and sometimes gives the impression that it is about to fall on the crowd.

On July 2, the day of the feast, the crowned wooden sculpture of Our Lady covered with gold – rings, bracelets, necklaces, and so on, preceded by the statues of St. Joseph and St. Michael the Archangel, files between two lines of people.

According to some historians, the feast of July 2 is the same as the old one of Demeter. At that time three statues were also carried in procession. Therefore what matters is the religious feeling which does not depend on the different names you may give to the divinity.

Ettore Grillo, author of:

A Hidden Sicilian History

-The Vibrations of Words

-Travels of the Mind