In the everyday rhythm of my life the closest I get to anything religious is a weekly visit to the local Methodist Hall where my camera club meets. Life, though, is usually more fun if you do different things and do things differently so, last week, I found myself in Orosei, Sardinia, with my lovely family and smack bang in the middle of Easter celebrations.
Palm Sunday: spectators begin gathering in the town square from mid-morning as locals look on and sip cappuccino behind their cool shades, and by 11 a.m. a noisy, boisterous crowd presses against the barriers on both sides of the Via Nazionale. A steel grandstand, built to give the best view of the big procession through the village, is full. Everyone is here. Everyone is having a great time. We all participate in this show as both spectators and players. Poses are struck. Cheeks are kissed.
Garlands are scattered onto the route of the procession before it leaves the village church and children in traditional costume gather outside to watch it set out. As it moves ponderously through town, white robed and dignified, the faces of the younger boys taking part as chalice and mace bearers betray their feelings. Bravado, pensiveness, pride and even what seems to be outright fear. This is a big deal - the entire town is looking on!
When it's finally over the crowd quickly disperses as families gather for lunch. All that's left to do is clear up and maybe text a friend.