Infinitely more so than Christmas, La Settimana Santa (Holy Week) is the biggest, most important event in Calabria — and it has nothing to do with chocolate bunnies and marshmallow treats (more on that later this week).
Many villages have their own special goings-on, and Badolato is one of them. Activities last all week long and culminate in a half-day procession on Venerdì Santo (Good Friday) and an all day procession on Sabato Santo (Holy Saturday).
Last year, I gathered a collection of my posts on Pasqua in Calabria for you:
There are more stories, photos, videos, and a recipe linked there.
I keep struggling with what to call what goes on here, though. “Celebration” and “festivities” simply don’t fit the somber, austere, and deeply emotional mood even for the non-religious like me. This will be my eighth Easter here, and I still get choked up for La Settimana Santa.
The rhythmic beat of a solitary drum echoing through the narrow streets, the bellowing yet wailing voices of men and sometimes women singing about the suffering of their savior, the trudging up these steep, unforgiving hills with the sun beating down on those dressed in layers of robes.
It all begins at the start of the week, with groups of men who walk around the village from church to church each morning leading up to Good Friday. This video was taken this morning from my balcony:
If you can come to Calabria for Holy Week even once in your lifetime, I highly recommend it.