Easter traditions/Events

The Passion of Coldrerio - Coldrerio, 4 April 2012,  8.30pm

In 1945 in the days preceding Easter a group of young people from Coldrerio, fascinated by the representation of the historical Processions in Mendrisio, decided to reconstruct the events of the Passion in the Castello area of the village; none of them would ever have imagined that one day one of the most colourful and cherished traditions of the Mendrisiotto would arise from that simple, modest attempt: the Passion of Coldrerio. In the Sixties the initiative of the young people from the area acquired the quality of a true sacred representation; on the natural hill of Ciossetto the Crucifixion was played out for the first time in a mimed performance which, in its sober and tragic realism, constituted a unique event of certain importance within the ambit of the Easter events in Canton Ticino and one of the few open-air theatres in the cross-border area.

The musical moments, calibrated and inserted into the different scenes, become scenic elements, and contribute to the creation of a particularly intense and suggestive atmosphere at the Ciossetto.

Maundy Thursday Procession - Mendrisio, 5 April 2012,  8.30pm

The historical Maundy Thursday Procession in Mendrisio (or "Ceremony of the Judeans" as it is known locally) was originally organised by the Brotherhood of the Holy Sacrament. It is related to the sacred medieval performances which developed first in churches, then moved outside to the streets and town squares, and eventually became public entertainment. With the passage of time these sacred performances lost much of their original authenticity. Originally the ceremony began in the afternoon with the capture of Christ by the Judeans. Eventually it was reduced to the "Historical Procession of Christ to Calvary", the site of the Crucifixion. Approximately 200 historical Roman and Hebrew figures take part in this, the greatest drama ever: the Passion and the sentence to death by Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth in the Roman year 753 or 754. The actors are all people from the area. Acting with realistic vigour, they have learned the silent moves and craft of traditional mime from their forefathers. At one time each participant made his/her own costume Then in 1898 rich and precious costumes were bought from the Scala in Milan. Unfortunately, no trace remains of these old costumes, but they have been replaced with faithful imitations.

Good Friday Procession - Mendrisio, 6 April 2012, 8.30 pm

The Good Friday Procession, whose origins may be even older than its counterpart on Maundy Thursday, was initiated by the Servants of Mary; but the Community of Mendrisio took on the cost of organising it. The religious and liturgical character of this procession is also most striking. Various religious brotherhoods take part, carrying small painted lanterns and historical lamps illuminated in lovely, unusual forms. Two ancient statues, dear to the hearts of the people of Mendrisio, are carried to the accompaniment of band music: the Simulacrum of the dead Christ and the statue of the Virgin of Seven Sorrows. This is surrounded by lamps and carried high and in mourning above the crowd, through the wonderful scenery of the narrow streets of the historical part of the old town. It is followed by the black banner of Mendrisio. On the night of the full moon this impressive parade with more than 600 participants flows like a river of light into the town streets and squares, which are filled to overflowing with all sizes and shapes of people. Chronicles of the 19th century wrote about a "human tide" of visitors arriving from the rest of the Canton Ticino and from the Italian Lombardy region to watch the two spectacular processions, so that "after a certain hour in the evening, it was no longer possible to find a glass of wine or even a piece of bread." www.mendrisioturismo.ch

Procession "des Pleureuses", religious Easter tradition - Romont, 6 April 2012, 15.00h

The ceremony begins with a reading from the Bible of the Passion of Christ. When the funeral procession is mentioned, the congregation begins their procession through the streets of the upper village. The mourners, clothed and veiled in black, slowly follow the Virgin Mary, portrayed by a young girl; she walks behind the large cross carried by a penitent wearing a black hood. On scarlet cushions, the mourners carry the symbols of the Passion: a crown of thorns, a whip, nails, a hammer, tongs, and St. Veronica's shroud. www.romont.ch

Zwänzgerle, traditional after-Easter egg game -  Zurich, 29 April 2012, 10.00am

In the morning of Easter Monday, a traditional after-Easter egg game takes place on Limmatquai. The 'Zwänzgerle' makes hundreds of eggs change owners in no time: children hold up their egg, while adults throw a 'Zwänzgerli' (a small coin worth twenty Swiss Rappen) at it. If the coin sticks to the egg, the adult may keep both. If the coin misses the target, both the egg and the coin belong to the child. Meeting point at the Rüdenplatz. www.zuerich.com


Egg bashing on the Kornhausplatz - Bern, 8 April 2012, 10.30am

Each year, the people from Bern look forward to a friendly get together in the city of Bern on Easter Sunday, to enjoy plenty of egg-bashing fun on the Kornhausplatz. The practice can be compared with the game of conkers as it's the toughest eggs that win. The traditional fun commences at 10.30 in the morning and you're welcome to bring your own eggs along, although you will also find that you can purchase plenty of colourfully painted ones on the spot. - www.berninfo.com

Sources: the websites linked above