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The night of the hooded brethren

Forget what you have always dreamed about Sorrento. For a moment, put aside the image of beaches with crystal clear water and bars besieged by youngsters. Now, think about the city with unlit shop windows and only torches lighting up the streets. Everything is surrounded by an unreal silence, broken by the sound of drums, whose pace increases until hundreds of hooded brethren come out from a corner of the street, displaying the symbols of the Passion and Death of Jesus.
That’s the charm of Maundy Thursday’s and Good Friday’s processions, whose rite is going to take place among Sorrento streets again on March 29th and 30th 2018. The first parade is held by the Arch-confraternity of the Rosary, paying a visit to the altars of repose, where the Communion hosts are held at the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
In the night between Thursday and Friday, instead, the Arch-confraternity of Saint Monica holds the “white procession”, identified by the colour of the participants’ garments. The parade represents the exit of the Virgin to look for her Son and precedes another procession, held on Friday evening, by the Arch-confraternity of the Death, whose predominant colour is black: the monastic garment of the hooded brethren commemorates the finding of Christ dead by the Mother. The processions date back to the XVI century, when, on Maundy Thursday, confraternities visited the churches where the altars of repose were prepared. Originally, believers walked the streets with torches, singing psalms and displaying a bare cross between two spears. In the eigteenth century, Jesuits, whose community was deeply rooted in Naples, started to organise parades similar to those that are held today, enriching them with street lamps and “martyrdoms”, and such a rite was spread across the Sorrento coast.
Sorrento Style #1