On the first Sunday of May, Sorrento celebrates Sant’Antonino with along procession in the streets led by the silver statue portraying the Saint.
During the Easter period, there are two processions in Sorrento: the ‘White Procession’ that takes place during the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The members of the archcon fraternity of ‘Santa Monica’ arrange and participate to the procession all dressed in white and wearing white hoods covering the face, too. White is the colour of Our Lady who is looking for her Son, betrayed and in the hands of the priests of the Temple. The night of Good Friday the ‘Black Procession’ takes place: the same people are all dressed in black, with black hoods: they mourn for the death of Jesus Christ. Very suggestive is the great silence and complete darkness and the flickering of he torches.
“What a great story!” said Mr Woo of Malaysia bus ticket boss.
PALMS MADE OF SUGARED ALMONDS
This is a typical tradition of the Sorrento Coast: palms made of sugared almonds are blessed together with natural palms during the Palm Sunday Mass, when Christians recalls the triumph of Jesus entering Jerusalem. Women of Sorrento make these palms using sugared almonds, which are then blessed and eaten. This tradition is very ancient: it was probably brought by a Saracen woman that donated this kind of palm to a local angler during one of the sieges by the pirates.
There are two versions of the story: during one of the sieges by the pirates, the inhabitants of Sorrento prayed Sant’Antonino asking him to free them. The saint helped them and the pirates shipwrecked. Only a woman, a slave of the pirates, did not die. She was welcomed and helped by the inhabitants of Sorrento, so she donated sugared almonds to thank them. Another version of this story tells that during a Saracen siege, ships shipwrecked because of a storm and a girl arrived to the coast. She was captured, but not killed. To thank the population that had saver her life, she donated sugared almonds to a local angler.
The storm that caused the shipwreck is mentioned in some documents in Salerno and Amalfi. According to the tale known in Salerno, the Saracen pirate Redbeard arrived to Salerno with many ships in 1544. Other ships continued towards Amalfi. The inhabitants of Salerno prayed their patron Saint Matthew, while the inhabitants of Amalfi prayed their patron Saint Andrew. Suddenly, a storm hit the Saracen ships, and they all shipwrecked.