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ARCHI DI PASQUA

There is a moment in San Biagio Platani, the most important time of the year for this small town, when the whole community is gathered and works together, night and day, to create the famous Archi di Pasqua.

Carmelo, immersed in the green of his garden, with a privileged view on the Sicani mountains, is intent on drawing, and designing this architectural masterpiece, he gives instructions for the realization of the structures, domes, bell towers, and real cathedrals made of natural materials, so every detail of the huge structures is meticulously thought out, designed, and structured. The religious significance of the Easter Arches is evident, wanting to represent the triumph of Christ over death.

But the arches have their roots in the misery in which the population fell in the 18th century, whose layout served precisely to make people forget poverty, in a climate of mutual aid, on the occasion of Easter San Biagios’ families set up banquets with the “cuddure” ancient bread sharing with everyone who needs. Over time the conditions of scarcity in the country have been overcome, and the ancient bread become colorfull decorative elements made of salt dough, depicting symbols and religious figures or natural elements, made to act together with the vegetable structures, reeds, citrus fruits, bay leaves, dates, flowers and rosemary. as a spectacular background to the traditional Easter rite. Each group of citizens plays a specific role, some build the reed scaffolding, they are called “carru bistiami” because they do one of the hardest jobs. There are child and adults who create amazing mosaics using seeds, legumes and tiny vegetable elements, and there are the nimpe, giant chandeliers, meticulously decorated with plant elements or small ceramic artifacts..

To fuel the motivation, there is a clear challenge between two brotherhoods: Signurara and Madunnara, each member of the brotherhood is particularly keen to mark the difference of their artistic manufactures from other brotherhoods. This translates into a great variety of artistic elements that are all different from each other.

The rivalry between the two Confraternities leads the builders of the Easter arches to work, in great secrecy, one in secret from the other. Only on Saturday evening, when the arches are assembled to create the scenography along the main street, are they finally revealed, not only to the entire population of San Biagio, but one Confraternity reveals the fruit of its creative flair to the other. Walking down the main street on the Easter Eve, all the efforts vanish and give the way to great wonder and satisfaction, togetherness and pride. After Easter, the majestic scenic setting remains to adorn the main street until May, thus allowing numerous visitors to admire it for a long time.


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