In the canton of Ticino in Switzerland, about 50 km south of Bellinzona where I live, lies Mendrisio. In this village, processions worth seeing take place every year during Holy Week.

Holy Week in Mendrisio is characterized by the representation of the passion and death of Jesus. On the Thursday before Easter, at sunset, the procession of the participants crosses the center representing the ascent to Calvary: legionaries on horseback to the sound of trumpets, a suffering Jesus crowned with thorns, a sad Veronica showing the shroud, the Roman soldiers and many other historical figures.
The Good Friday procession has a character of sadness and devotion. The Virgin and the body of her Son are carried through the streets of the village by confraternities and religious, between two wings of crowd that gather in silence. To create the evocative scenery, in addition to the dim light of the evening, contribute above all the magnificent transparent (street lamps and illuminated canvases), made by various artists of the region and whose origins range from the seventeenth century to the present day.
Fascinating mixture of popular religiosity, mysticism, theatricality and art, the citizens of Mendrisio of all ages participate as participants in the event. A deeply rooted tradition that may perhaps seem anachronistic. But it is precisely the observance of a rite handed down by the fathers to revive, punctually every year, the unique spirit that is breathed in the ancient streets of the village, during the processions and in the days that precede them. An unmissable and unique event, where history becomes a spectacle in the perpetuation of tradition.
On 12.12.2019 UNESCO inscribed the processions of Holy Week in Mendrisio in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Silvano Degiovannini
Presidente Sezione Ticino e Moesano