Men, all men, dressed entirely in black. From pointed hoods through capes to black boots. Like a negative view of a Klu Klux Klan meeting. All walking in silence. Some carrying crosses. Some flails. Some presenting plates holding knives, nails, fish like strange offerings. Men holding lanterns and candles casting a strange orange glow over the scene. And in the middle a group chanting in a low melody.
This was the Easter procession in Sorrento. It was like something out of medieval times; a combination of slightly scary and vastly impressive. One of the most stunning things was the silence – the crowd hardly murmured and the procession moved quietly apart from the leading band and the central plainsong.
There are two Easter processions that book-end the day. We couldn’t face the 3am one in which the participants dress in white. The 8:30pm black one was easier to approach although harder to photograph. It really was an impressive sight and I’m so glad we saw it.
As we were walking back, though, all I could think was: appearing veiled in public, they’d never be allowed to do this in France now.