As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we decided to return to Troia in the evening to observe the procession for the Cathedral of Beata Maria Vergine Assunta in Cielo’s celebration of its six patron saints, Eleuterio, Ponziano, Anastasio, Secondidino, Urban, and Anza. When we arrived, the band had already assembled and was warming up. The crowd was gathered outside the Cathedral waiting for the procession to start.
The tourist bureau is located in the same piazza as the Cathedral, so while we were waiting, Jim went inside the office to see if he could gather any interesting or useful information. I stayed outside, and he was still in the office when things got started, so I poked my head in the door and told Jim that he was going to miss it if he didn’t get out there quickly. One of the guys in the office spoke English very well, so he and Jim had been talking about Jim’s grandparents.
Now, from the pictures I posted, you can see the crowd gathering. Then, the next shot shows some sort of guards getting ready by putting their white gloves on. The band started playing, and then one after another, groups of men emerged carrying large, ornate statues on heavy, gold pedestals. You could tell they were heavy, and each group of men also had four along sticks with metal hooks on top, so they could rest the huge objects on them when they would have to stop in the procession.
Next, you’ll see a picture of a priest with a microphone. He was the one who led most of the prayers and singing. After the statues had all come out, groups of priests followed and so did some flags. The priests must have had some come from miles around, because I don’t think there are that many in Troia, although there is a seminary there.
Now, the next items to join the procession were the ornate glass cases with some sort of objects in them. I zoomed in as much as I could, but, I just couldn’t tell what was in the cases. Well, I found out the next day, that the cases contain the bones of the patron saints. I also learned that apparently, at one time, another village got a hold of the bones, and the people of Troia had to steal them back. But they don’t consider it stealing, because they believe they were rightfully theirs in the first place. Incidentally, there’s been some discussion about the bones and some of their sizes compared to human bones. It’s speculated that the bones might actually be from large animals rather than humans.
I’m not sure that the next picture depicts well enough that the church bells were pealing wildly at this time. They were swinging back and forth like mad. If anyone in Troia didn’t want to be part of this celebration, they would have serious trouble ignoring it between the band playing and the bells gonging. I really like the way that the Cathedral makes use if its bells, and I can imagine that whoever was pulling those ropes was having a great time.
The next two pictures reveal my favorite photographic subjects, other than animals; the very young and the very old. The little girl had been placed uo on the ledge of the building we were standing in front of and seemed rather interested in my camera, so I took a couple of shots of her. The old guy just looked interesting standing there and didn’t seem to want his picture taken, so I snapped that shot when he looked away.
After all the statues, homes, and priests came out of the Cathedral, the procession began. In Troia, there are three main streets that run the length of the town. The Cathedral sits about in the middle of the town. The procession went up the main street to the end, took a left, and another left, traveling down to the other end of town before coming back up the main street back to the steps of the Cathedral. This all took about two hours.
Jim really wanted to walk the whole procession, so that’s what we did. The remaining photos in this post show the scenes along the procession’s route. You’ll see the loudspeakers that the young men carried on sticks from holsters on their belts. This way, even though we were in the back of the line, we could hear the prayers that were being said and the songs that were being sung. We figured out that they were praying the rosary and between each decade of the rosary, the band would play a song, and the people would sing. A couple of the songs were familiar to us; even though the words were being sung in Italian.
You’ll probably also notice that the sun went down during the procession. The decorative lights were on in the streets forming arches over us. From some of the balconies hung yellow and white flags. Also, during the procession, not everyone walked. A lot of people lined the street and watched. At each cross street, several of the people who were walkimg would fall away, and we figured they must have just walked until we reached their homes. For a little while, there was an old man walking next to Jim who was using a cane, and he kept his cane way out to the right side causing Jim to try to avoid it. Eventually, he turned off to a side street, and Jim jokingly said that the guy was probably taking a shortcut. Sure enough, when we were walking back up the main street, the old guy emerged from the shadows and rejoined the walkers.
When the procession returned to the Cathedral, the priests assembled on the steps, and the statues and bones were held by the men in the piazza. Many more prayers and intercessions were said and then we heard a loud explosion, which caused the priests to jump, along with ourselves. It was the start of a fireworks display being shot off the roof of a building. What a way to end the evening. Oh, the other good way to end the evening was with a slice of pizza from Pizza Take Away.
Want to see a video of the procession?
Italy Blog Posts:
- We’re Off to Italy!
- Who Really Needs Luggage on a Transatlantic Adventure?
- Reunited, and it Feels so Good!
- The Vatican – Best Experienced by Adults!
- The Colosseum: Are You Afraid of Lions?
- Driving in Italy: Oh My!
- Florence/Firenze. Which is it?
- A Twelve-Hour Tuscany Tour
- Out of Florence and into Radda in Chianti
- Isle of Capri: Did I Ever tell You I’m Afraid of Heights?
- Relaxing Day on Capri
- Flat Tire! In Italy?
- A Walk through Troia and through Time
- Troia’s Procession for Patron Saints
- Relatives in Troia and a Tour of a Castle
- Another Festival Wraps Up Our Journey
- No Place Like Home
Suite 101 Articles:
- Preview Italy: Bare Facts
- Preview Italy: Avoid Accidents or Injury by Paying Attention
- Preview Italy: Keeping Children Safe During Visit
Ann Silverthorn (Twitter: @annsilverthorn) is a versatile blogger who also writes about a wide variety of topics in numerous genres, including technology, travel, creative, and grant writing.