Misteri Di Erice
The Misteri di Erice are linked to the ancient tradition of the Good Friday Procession. The Procession of the Misteri has a very long history, probably originating in the mid-16th century, and takes place in charming places, amidst the dense network of cobbled streets in the village of Erice. The tradition of Good Friday was to perform the Passion of Christ in a theatrical and spectacular way, combined with the recital of passages from the New Testament. This practice evolved over time to include the groups of sculptures known as the Misteri, mixed-media masterpieces by Trapani craftsmen of the mid-18th century, which represent scenes from the Passion of Christ.
Originally, the procession started on the afternoon of Good Friday from the 15th-century church of S. Orsola – known as the Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) – but for more than a decade, the groups of sculptures have been welcomed into the Church of San Giuliano, which is now the starting point for the Misteri di Erice.
The groups of statues are made by the town’s craftsmen and are carried on their shoulders along the route of the procession and rested on supports during breaks. The statues are first lined up in front of the churchyard and walk in front of the “vara” (coffin) with the Crucifix: they follow the ancient route, up and down steep streets, through the picturesque and charming streets of Erice, before returning in the evening. The procession begins with devotees in costumes that reflect the various religious fraternities active in Erice in the 18th and 19th centuries.