45 images Created 30 Aug 2017
Medieval Flagellation - Riti Settennali di Penitenza 2017
“Riti Settennali di Penitenza” is a traditional penitential rite taking place in the southern Italian town of Guardia Sanframondi every seven years. Everything happens since centuries and it is the largest self-punishment rite in the Western world. A series of processions starts in the week following the Assumption. The “Mysteries”, honors the discovery of a Mary and Child statue in a field hundreds of years ago, through a series of parades of people dressed as characters from the Bible or recent religious episodes. The participants join together on the following Sunday for the main procession, when the flagellation occurs. More than thousand men and women dressed in white and wearing hoods to hide their face. Some participants, "flagellanti", strike their backs with small strips of metal chained together. Others, "battenti" tap against their bare chests with disks of cork pierced by needles, creating red patches of raw flesh, and sometimes blood. Attendants pour white wine on the cork as disinfectant, and to keep the wounds open. All this for for reconcile their sin with God. This year about a thousand people between "battenti" and "flagellanti" participated to the final procession on Sunday, the most striking and crowded. Many of these, (over the forty percent) they were women.The ritual has drawn some criticism over the years. The Italian journalist and writer Roberto Saviano, said that members of the local crime organization, the Camorra, use the anonymity as a way of seeking secret redemption. The next one will be in 2024.