A mix of the sacred and the profane, of art and tradition: several characteristics distinguish the centuries-old historical processions in the holy week leading up to Easter from similar representations.
Each year the processions are filled with emotion. You can sense it in all of the participants – especially in the man representing Jesus.
The historical procession in Mendrisio, which has been proposed for the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural heritage, appeal to an ever greater number of international visitors, fascinated by the re-enactment.
For the local population it’s much more than a wonderful spectacle to admire: it’s an appointment not to be missed, and everyone participates.
“Anyone who grew up in Mendrisio wants to take part in the procession,” says Fabio Croci. “Already among the children there is competition to interpret the important roles.
Later, for adults, the processions become somehow more serious. You begin to take on other roles, until at some point you suddenly have the desire to interpret the role of Jesus.”
Croci, who is playing Jesus Christ, changes clothes and puts on makeup in the vestry, preparing for the Passion.
(Photos: Thomas Kern, swissinfo.ch, Text: Sonia Fenazzi, swissinfo.ch, 17.04.2014)