U catenacciu in Sartène: the most ancient Easter tradition of Corsica

  • Published: 10-02-2016
  • Category: Events


It is one of the most beautiful villages of Corsica. And, during the Easter, it is the location of one of the most ancient Easter tradition of the island of beauty. A five hundred years old rite. It is the procession of U Catenacciu, which takes place in Sartène, southern Corsica.


U catenacciu

The name, literally, means “the bearer of the chains”. On the evening of Good Friday (February 25, 2016), the doors of the church of Sartène are opened and the rite begins. A procession accompanies the red penitent: a hooded man (who wears red habit, is barefoot and has chains at his feet) bears a heavy cross.

The red penitent walks for two kilometers along the streets of Sartène. He has to fall three times, as Christ during the Passion. A second penitent, who wears a white habit, his face covered, helps the red penitent to bear the cross: the white penitent represents Simon of Cyrene.

U catenacciu is a rite between sacred and profane: an almost mystic procession that attracts hundred of visitors every day.


The legend

U Catenacciu is a procession of Franciscan origin. It mixes religious elements with Aragonese penitential practices of the Corsican brotherhoods of flagellants during the Sixteenth century.

To wear the habit of the red penitent or of the white penitent, a person could wait for 10 or 15 years. Only the priest knows the identity of the penitent. According to the legend, the penitents are criminals, bandits or, in general, people who are guilty of abominable sins.


How to get there

The main tourist port near Sartène is Bonifacio. To get there from Bonifacio, take the N196 road and follow the road signs to Sartène. The journey by car takes about one hour.




Image source: Flickr.com/photos/wpointw

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