photo © Louise Shapcott
The Feast of Corpus Domini or Infiorata Flower Festival
The feast of Corpus Domini is held on the Sunday nine weeks after Easter. This festival is a real cultural community event where local people come together to create colourful decorative carpets to adorn the streets and squares of Atina. These designs are made using flowers and brightly coloured wood chippings.
Several special altars are set up at strategic points along the route of the planned procession, the main one being sited in the doorway of the old cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Apartment dwellers, along the way, drape silk banners and beautiful lace trimmed linens from their windows and balconies.
The Corpus Domini Procession
For the solemn religious procession of the blessed sacrament, the parish priest wears an ornately embroidered wrap around his shoulders. He uses this to hold the “monstrance” displaying the holy consecrated host which represents the blessed body of Christ. Four proud staff bearers support a decorative canopy aloft, flanked by several dignitaries and cassocked youths carrying a crucifix and lanterns. The town band follows behind and many townsfolk join in the parade along the way. The procession slowly winds its way through various quarters of Atina. At each of the special altars the priest offers prayers and blesses each of the districts.
When the procession arrives back to the piazza in front of the old cathedral, more prayers are offered and then the cathedral bells begin to joyfully ring out. Finally a Benediction takes place in the cathedral to conclude the day’s celebrations.
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