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Procession of the Dead Christ and Sorrowful Madonna

The Sicilians have a disconcerting custom of clapping for people in coffins. People they like. Here we see an effigy of Christ after he was removed from the cross, and placed in a glass coffin. He is followed by an effigy of his sorrowful mother dressed plainly in black and purple, the colors of the day, and crowned with a silver and gold halo. It is very moving street theater; older women cry at the thought of Mary having to see her son crucified and dead. They empathize.
The procession leaves the church about 5 p.m. in the westering sun and continues through the streets of Palermo all night long at a funereal pace. The man shaking the clacker indicates when the porters should lift, carry and put down the heavy biers. Each statue is followed by its own 30-piece band playing dirges. The church is Santa Maria La Nuova alla Marina in Piazza San Giacomo La Marina, behind the Vucciria street market.
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