Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Corpus Domini: Cagli, Italy

Last weekend was the celebration of Corpus Domini in Cagli, Italy.

During Corpus Domini, a procession travels through the streets of Cagli and visits all twelve Catholic parishes. The path is lined with anise and rosemary, and the townspeople decorate the portion of the street in front of their house with floral designs.

Corpus Domini begins at the Duomo in the main square, and the procession begins with a priest bearing a cross, walking on the floral pathway. The town's scout troop follows along the edges of the street not covered in petals. Then the city's band follows, playing a marching dirge.

After the band a procession of Cagli's priests follow bearing an ivory canopy. Under the canopy one priest carries the body of Christ to each parish. After this, all the townspeople follow, crushing the flowers beneath their feet. As the herbs are crushed, they release a pungent, earthy fragrance into the air that hovers for hours after the festivities are over.

Our day began early with our landlords, Giampietro and Daniela Chegai. We, the graduate student team, helped Giampietro prepare and place his floral arrangement in the street.

Every year Giampietro designs a cross of flower petals and wheat. This shot was taken from the window of my apartment, and shows the beginning of the procession with the priest bearing the cross. Along the side you can see the scouts walking along the floral pathway.

Unfortunately, I do not know the history behind the celebration. One of the other student groups is producing a story on the topic and I hope to learn more then. In the meantime, the town of Cagli has organized a special procession of saints for the Americans tomorrow, and the boys will be taking part by bearing one of the canopies. Perhaps there will be another photo blog post tomorrow!

Until then, Arrivederci!

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