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On the evening of Good Friday a procession of the dead Christ takes place in Vico Equense. But not everyone knows that it would be more correct to speak of two processions, though both rarely take place in the same year. It all began after a curious incident involving one of the “casali” of the Equense territory: Seiano. In the past there were different confraternities which had their seat in the Parish Church – the two more important ones were the one of Death and Prayer, and the one of the Immaculate Conception. To end the many disputes between the different factions, the Archbishop D’Aquino (17th century) decided to merge the various companies into just one congregation, which took the name of the Arch-Confraternity of Death and Prayer. Some of the more important duties of the confreres were to provide spiritual guidance and to oversee the burial of the poorly deceased.



The Red Procession

To this day they are in charge of organizing the triennial procession of the Dead Christ, which takes place in the early evening hours of Good Friday. This is the famous red procession of Seiano, which features over 400 participants in period costumes and 14 horses ridden by Roman soldiers, making the parade one of a kind. Adding to the uniqueness of the experience is the wholehearted participation of the entire community, whose “grieving exuberance” guarantees that this tradition lives on. As some of the local elders say, this is a “true feast of the Dead Christ”. As the numerous torches light up the streets, the red-hooded men begin their procession from their seat by the parish and head towards the main town streets: the first group is made up of the Arch confraternity banners, and is followed by the participants and by the symbols of the Passion – Judas, Pilate, Caiaphas, Veronica accompanied by the pious women, St Peter’s rooster (a live one, another curious feature of the procession), and the martyrs. Closing the parade are the 1700s papier-mâché statues of the dead Christ, and of Our Lady of the Sorrows, followed by the brothers of the association. Accompanying the procession are the children’s choir and the band. After parading through the main streets of Seiano and Vico Equense, the procession makes its way back, light up by torches placed on balconies and windows which create a mystical and mournful atmosphere.

The Purple Procession

Since the 17th of April 1987 – the Good Friday of that year – in the two years between one triennial procession and the other, the Arch confraternity of the “Assunta” (the Virgin Mary) and the Mountain of the Dead organizes another procession of the Dead Christ commonly known as the “Purple Hoods” – another unique event of the Peninsula.


Easter 2022


Comune di Vico Equense - Ufficio Turismo e Cultura

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80069 Vico Equense (NA) 

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