Feast of the Risen Christ the King
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Technical Information

Feast of the Risen Christ the King

Easter or "Uomu Vivu" party

THE FESTIVAL OF EASTER OR OF THE "UOMU VIVU"

On Easter Sunday, the celebrations begin with the procession, through the streets of the city, of the "Venerable", the Monstrance carried by a priest, under a large four-pole canopy. At the head of the procession, a very heavy "stunnardu ", the traditional blue silk banner "... with the star embroidered in gold and a large tassel, at the tip, touching the ground, hanging from a long rod, which bends in an arc and is carried, tied to the waist, by young people, who give thus proof of their vigor. They proceed with measured steps, the shaft inserted into a leather cup, hung on the front, with a belt tightened at the hips, the torso bent back, one arm outstretched, to support the shaft; the tip of the banner crawling on the ground ". (B. Cataudella; Scicli. History and Traditions).
The "spectacular" moment of the festival is when, upon the return of the "Stunnardu", (around 13.00 pm), a crowd of young people, crowding, raise the statue of the "Living Man" on their arms and to the sound of the Hymn of Busacca, proceeds, with a forward-backward pace, from inside the church to the churchyard where the beautiful statue of the Risen Christ finally appears, and is visible up to the "plan of Cònsolo".

 
Risen Christ "L'Uomu Vivu" - church of SM La Nova
Risen Christ “L'Uomu Vivu” - church of SM La Nova

The statue, which is the work of the sculptor Benedetto Civiletti, represents Christ in the likeness of a young man, with a harmonically vigorous body, covered by a golden yellow band, with a red cloak covering his neck, and behind the rays of the rising sun. , symbolize rebirth; the head is adorned with a paten, the right hand raised, blessing, while with the left he holds a blue banner, the color of the resurrection.
It is at this point that the "festival of men" really explodes, as Vinicio Capossela sang it well, after seeing the statue while "... he staggers, wobbles on the back of the crowd, and ... with his three fingers the Way seems to indicate ".
It is certainly difficult to describe, to those who have not seen this party at least once, the jubilation of the crowd, between the shouts of "Hurray" and "Gio-Gio-Gio-Giooooia! ”While flower petals rain down from the balconies as the statue passes.
The intense joy of this moment is well represented by the explosion of the artistic fireworks that, from the top of the San Matteo hill, joining the uninterrupted ringing and the cries of "JOY!" porters fill the whole valley.
The statue, supported by a thousand cheering arms advances, in a sea of ​​crowd, always with its "wave" trend, along Via Santa M.la Nova, up to the "Cònsolo" floor, when a new and more vigorous one explodes " tapped ", "U pìttimu": (shot of large mortars, in a chain), which seems to envelop men and things in a cloud of sounds and colors.
Then the "Uomu Vivu", as it is affectionately called by the Sciclitans, proceeds to Piazza Busacca, where the part of the celebrations that close on Easter morning takes place: the porters, accompanied by the musical band, turn at a normal pace. , now fast, around the square in the center of which stands the statue of Pietro Di Lorenzo Busacca, until the fateful "last lap", (never predictable), when the porters, exhausted and at the end of their strength, are persuaded to put down the statue inside the nearby church of the Carmine.

 
 

It is at this point that on people's faces and gazes it is possible to grasp the most varied expressions: in some of jubilation and authentic joy, in others of true amazement and even, in some, of execration, for the clearly pagan connotations with which represents a party that everyone can "read" according to their own interpretative register.
In most, however, the pleasure of an extraordinary party, absolutely "Sciclitana", is evident.
Around 16 pm, the statue is carried again in procession and, upon returning, is still exposed to the admiration-veneration of visitors.
The celebrations end after midnight, in the church of Santa M. la Nova, always amidst the cheers of Gioia, the sparkle of the lights and the artistic fireworks.
The flavor of a party remains intact in which all citizenship is recognized for its multiple values: the religious one, inprimis, in its primordial source as capable of corresponding to the desire for rebirth and eternity inherent in the heart of Man; no less important is the historical-folkloristic dimension due to its unifying force; an event, finally, powerful also as a function of "Tourist attraction" and as such, it deserves to be counted among the Major Events of the Regional Calendar and registered with the REI -Registro della Eredita'Immateriali.

Source: Municipality of Scicli - Promotion and Tourist Information Office

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Technical sheet prepared by: Region of Sicily - Department of cultural heritage and Sicilian identity - CRicd: Regional center for inventory, cataloging and documentation and Sicilian regional film library 

Intangible Heritage Register

N. Prog. 137
Well: Feast of the Risen Christ the King
Book: REI - Book of celebrations
Approval date: 17-11-2010
Category: Celebration
Province: Ragusa
Municipality: Scicli
Local denomination: Feast of the Omu vivu o 'u Joy
Chronological News
Although we do not have precise information on the origin of the feast of the Risen Christ the King of Scicli, an episcopal decree provides a date on which it was already in use to carry a statue of the Risen Christ in procession, it is April 16, 1688 and there is talk of a license in order to carry out the procession of the SS. Sacrament on Easter day from S. Maria La Piazza to the Church of S. Maria La Nova where the blessing would take place, followed by the translation of the statue of the Risen Christ. According to the authorizations for the processions, a statue of the Risen Christ must have been there until 1693, but it had to be destroyed in the earthquake since from 1694 there is no news of it. After the earthquake, in fact, only the procession of the SS will take place for several years. Sacrament.
A procession of the Risen Christ is again referred to in 1731; there would therefore be two simulacra preceding the one carried in procession today; the first reference to the current statue can be found in an inventory relating to the handover between the collegiate church and the administration of the Busacca inheritance of 24 December 1799, of which the statue was part.
Another interruption of the festival will take place in the years of the nineteenth-century reconstruction of the church from 1818 to 1835. Since then, every year on Easter Sunday is cheered by the presence of the Risen Christ.
Tradition has it that the fercolo of the Risen Christ was carried in procession together with the SS. Sacramento following a very simple path compared to the current one: from the Church of S. Maria la Nova you reached the Nunziata floor (i.e. the Carmine) and here was the homage of the Carmelite Fathers. Immediately afterwards we headed towards via del Corso and the fercolo stopped at the monasteries of S. Giovanni, S. Teresa and S. Michele to then enter the Church of S. Maria La Piazza, where a mass was celebrated on Monday morning, and on Tuesday after lunch the statues were brought back to the Church of S. Maria la Nova.
When S. Maria La Piazza was demolished and the parish title of this passed to the Carmelite church, the goal of the procession was the Chiesa del Carmine: but in controversy against the Freemasons who had wanted the demolition of the Church of S. Maria La Piazza il Cristo Risen before entering the Carmine, he was led each time to the ancient site of S. Maria La Piazza (now Piazza Busacca) and to the now abandoned monasteries.
The Tuesday procession was abolished in 1905, it was therefore decided to widen the procession itinerary with consequent return on the same day to the Church of S. Maria la Nova, until 1930 when, with the arrival of public lighting, the return it was postponed to Sunday evening, after the concert of the musical band.
Recurrence: Annual
Date: Easter Sunday
Occasion: Resurrection of Christ the Savior
Function: Devotional / Propitiatory / Regenerative
Actors: Young men, unmarried, carrying the statue of the Risen Christ the King.
Participants: Local community, tourists
Technical Information
The Feast of the Risen Christ of Scicli takes place at the height of Holy Week, Easter Sunday, when the Resurrection of Christ is celebrated, from here Omu Vivu, to the cry of "Joy", hence par excellence 'u Joy. The transition from pain and death on Good Friday to the triumph of Easter Sunday is sudden and overwhelming and its passage unleashes a real collective frenzy throughout the country.
Together with the religious significance, a celebration that stands out for its clearly pagan character with clear references to initiatory and orgiastic rituals, as was the case in ancient agrarian rites. It is an extraordinary party with a powerful aggregative function: si can effectively define the "crazy feast of Joy", where the true joy is expressed in an excessive but admirable way.to which Easter must transmit to the faithful, in the sign of the triumph of life over death.
The wooden statue of Christ, an eighteenth-century work attributed to Civiletti and kept in the Church of Santa Maria La Nova, is carried in procession through the streets of the city and made to sway and dance as a sign of vitality throughout the day until late. The program for Easter Sunday it is divided into celebratory, devotional and folkloristic moments, marked by tradition:
- At about 11:00 from the church of S. Maria la Nova begins the procession of the SS. Sacrament. The queue of the processional procession has not yet left the church when a very large group of young people takes possession of the statue of the Risen Christ the King, thus starting a peculiar rite: sBy vigorously raising the rods of the sedan chair to their maximum height with their arms raised, the young people repeatedly shout all together: “Joy! Joy! Joy!". For more than an hour, inside the church, the young people, at short and regular intervals, continue to lift the statue, throwing it sideways, forwards, backwards, and always shouting in chorus. In the rite a strongly marked erotic symbolism is clearly simulated, just look at the face and movements of the young people of Scicli, who burst forth joy and vitality from every pore. They improvise, play, collide, laugh with intimate and total participation.
- Around 12:00, upon returning from the procession of the SS. Sacramento, the wooden statue ofOmu vivu it is finally taken out of the Church of S. Maria la Nova. THEn an orgiastic atmosphere and frenetic rhythm the simulacrum is carried through the streets of Scicli, pushing it up and down, back and forth, and in every direction, according to the whim and inspiration of the young people who carry it around, to the sound of the most lively marches, under a shower of flowers thrown from the balconies of the houses, accompanied by the uninterrupted bells coming from the Church, by the cries of "Joy" of the porters and all those who attend, in an explosion of artistic fireworks deafening coming from the top of the hill of S. Matteo. The vitalistic component of the rite is expressed not only by the frequent upward thrusts of the statue but also by the auspiciousness and propitiatory invocation in favor of the children who are lifted upwards in the presence of theOmu vivu to the choral cry of "Crìscila! Crìscila! ".
The statue, in a sea of ​​crowds, always with its "wave" trend, proceeds along via S. Maria la Nova, up to the Cònsolo plain, where a new and more vigorous manifestation explodes, u pittimu, or rather the firing of large chain mortars, which seems to envelop men and things in a cloud of sounds and colors.
Then theOmu vivu, proceeds to Piazza Busacca, where the part of the celebrations that close on Easter morning takes place: the porters, accompanied by the musical band, go around the square at the center of which is the statue of Pietro Di Lorenzo Busacca, until the fateful last lap, unpredictable, when the wearers, exhausted and at the end of their strength, lay the statue inside the nearby Church of the Madonna del Carmelo.
- At 16:00 the simulacrum goes out again for the second procession, but this is the only one in which there is silence and prayer, because it is placed over a processional base with wheels and follow a very precise and orderly itinerary that ends around 20:00.
- At 23:30 pm the last procession begins, during which the statue del Cristo is carried on the shoulders of many young people, from the Church of the Madonna del Carmelo, always in an atmosphere of joy and enthusiasmmo, to return to the Church of S. Maria la Nova around 3.00 in the morning.
 
 
Burgaretta, Sebastian. 1997. Saints and sounds in the iblei, in New Ephemerides, 38. Palermo: Guide Editions.
Buttitta, Ignazio Emanuele. 2002. The long memory: symbols and rites of traditional religiosity. Rome: Meltemi Editore.
 
Buttitta, Ignazio Emanuele. 2005. Dances, struggle and regeneration. Easter in Scicliin Catalog of the XXX Festival of Morgana. Palermo: Association for the conservation of popular traditions.
 
Cataudella, Bartolo. 1970. Scicli: history and tradition. Scicli: printed by the Municipality.
 
Console, Vincent. 2003. The everlasting flow, in Zanetti, Mauro, 'U JOY. Jaloffra and Filuvespri. Milan: A thousand floors.
 
Cross, Marcella. 2004. The seasons of the sacred: almanac of Sicilian folk festivals. Palermo: Flaccovio Publisher.
 
Scarfo, Andrea. 2011. U 'Gioia: Easter in Scicli. Reggio Calabria: City of the sun.
Sitography
 
Filmography
Buttitta, Ignazio Emanuele, edited by. Holy Week in south-eastern Sicily, Disco 2. Syracuse: produced by the Sicilian Region - Regional Department of the BB.CC.AA. and of the PI, Casa Museo “A. Bird ", Superintendence for the BB.CC.AA. of Syracuse, Folkstudio of Palermo, 2005. DVD, 11 min.
Discography
 
Notes
In 2006 the singer-songwriter Vinicio Capossela dedicated a song entitled “L'Uomo Vivo (Hymn to Joy)” included in the album Ovunque proteggi, which won the Targa Tenco as the best album of the year, to the characteristic feast of the Risen Christ King. 
 
The polychrome wooden statue of the Risen Christ the King is the work of the sculptor Benedetto Civiletti and is dated to the XNUMXth century. Christ is represented in the likeness of a young man, with a harmonically vigorous body, covered by a golden yellow band, with a red cloak that covers his neck, and behind the rays of the rising sun, symbolize rebirth; the head is adorned with a paten, the right hand raised, blessing, while with the left he holds a blue banner, the color of the resurrection. The base of the statue is completely covered with flowers with drawings depicting the chalice and some adoring angels, the whole structure is then placed on a sedan chair with long and large wooden rods useful for transport.
Author Profile: Maria Rosaria Paterno '
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