The feast of Corpus Domini falls on the 9th Sunday following Easter. This festival is a real cultural community event where local people come together to create colourful decorative carpets to adorn the streets and squares of Atina. These designs are made using brightly coloured wood chippings and flowers.
A metal template is used to form the designs.
Piazza Marconi, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Bishops Palace.
Several special altars are set up in various neighbourhood along the route of the planned procession, the main one being sited in the doorway of the old cathedral.
Also, along the way, apartment dwellers drape silk banners and beautiful lace trimmed linens from their windows and balconies.
For the solemn religious procession of the blessed sacrament, the parish priest wears an ornately embroidered wrap around his shoulders. This he then uses this to hold the “monstrance” displaying the holy consecrated sacrament of the host which represents the blessed body of Christ. Four proud staff bearers support a decorative canopy aloft, flanked by several dignitaries and cassocked youths carrying a crucifix and lanterns. The town band follows behind and many townsfolk join in the religious parade along the way. The procession slowly winds its way through various quarters of Atina. At each of the special altars the priest offers prayers and blesses each of the districts.
When the procession arrives back to the piazza in front of the old cathedral, more prayers are offered and then the cathedral bells begin to joyfully ring out. Finally a Benediction takes place in the cathedral to conclude the day’s celebrations.
All photos are by me © Louise Shapcott