Familiarizing with customs, beliefs and omens

u catenacciu via Stella CorseAs is normally so in a community

Composed of many villages and small towns, customs, traditions, beliefs and natural omens are certainly present throughout history and every day subsistence. It is not unusual to find large trees in front of churches, or to have heard shepherds speak on the flight of birds, measuring omens and hearing thunder and roars announcing forthcoming deaths. Superstitutions and religion mingle, and traditions very much alive, portray a definite desolation through the Corsican traditional music and polyphonic singing. Being a highly Christian island, pilgrimages, festivals and processions occupy a noted importance in daily life. The Assumption of  August 15th is undoubtedly the most important religious demonstration, along with the ‘Catenacciu’ in Sartene, where a procession takes place annually. The literal translation from latin for this event would be ‘the chained one’ (‘catena’ meaning ‘chains’) – the ceremony represents the crucifixion of Christ, and an unknown penitent wearing red robes and a hood, walks barefoot through the streets of the town carrying a huge wooden cross that weighs 34.5kg and secured by the right ankle with 17kg of chains – only the priest knows the identity of the penitent, and legend would have it that people can indeed wait up to 40 years to be actually chosen …

Photo credit: ViaStella ©

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