By Ylenia Azzaro (JUMP Team - Italy)
On the day of Holy Friday (before Easter Day) is celebrated in Catanzaro, the capital of the Calabria region (Italy) ‘A Naca (dialect word meaning “the cradle”, from the Greek nachè), a religious festival that dates back to 1600.
The celebration begins the evening before when the Confreres, with their heads encircled by a crown woven of wild asparagus, visit the Sepulchers carrying on their shoulders, in turn, a Penitential Cross.
The Naca is the cradle in which the statue of the dead Jesus is placed. It is an imposing structure decorated with damask, silk and flowers. On the cradle there are 4 or more papier-mâché angels with the symbols of the Passion, in front of a large illuminated cross.
Today the Naca is carried on the shoulders of the Firemen in a long route through the streets of Catanzaro. It is preceded by the banners and flags of the Confraternities of the city (of Saints John the Baptist and Evangelist, of the Immaculate of the Carmine and of the Rosary) and it is followed by the penitential crosses. Each Confraternity has its cross: white for the Carmine Church, blue for the Immacolata Church, black for the Rosary Church and red for the Saint John one.
At one time, it was the representatives of the guilds of trades (shoemakers, farmers and artisans) who carried the “Naca” with a typical waddle.
The Cradle is followed by Our Lady of Sorrows, represented with the heart pierced by 7 swords, which symbolize the 7 sorrows of Mary.