Granitula …a lively, winding procession

Balagne’s Holy Week is more than a tradition, it is a week that lifts Corsica’s spirits in honour of Good Friday, the day when Jesus was crucified. However, besides the religious aspects, I invite you to experience this lively unparalleled event, which is a real live spectacle.

We are in Calvi, on the day of Good Friday and it is 21:30. Several of us (dozens or hundreds) are standing in front of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral in the upper town. The penitent laboriously moves forwards wearing the cross, surrounded by fellows from Saint Erasme and Saint Antoine carrying the body of Christ and Our Lady of Sorrows dressed in black. With a backdrop of the fellows enthusiastically lamenting, the procession descends down to the lower town. We follow it until we get to Saint Majeure church. On the church’s parvis, to the sound of Atti di Contrizione, Passione and Dio Vi Salvi Regina, the fellows coil around into a spiral that is full of spirituality and contemplation. The town is lit up by candles displayed in every home. The procession resumes. The granitula spiral continues to wind its way down to the port, around memorials and the citadel.

Seeing these men, who are sometimes so young, enthusiastically immerse themselves and take part in this special moment of reverence is quite an experience and each and every one of them should be greatly respected. Besides being powerfully and religiously symbolic, this procession, like others held in Balagne, represents Corsica’s traditions and culture being kept alive and I am happy I could witness the occasion.