In Nocera Terinese, a Calabrian town which counts not more than 4000 people, from friday night to Easter saturday afternoon citizens take part in the " Rito dei Battenti" ,”shutters ritual" we could say in English.
In a few words, they offer their blood to the Virgin Mary, flagellating themselves for the last 2 days of the holy easter week.
“L’addolorata“, is a Seventeenth century wood statue located in the dark " Cappella dell’Annunziata" (in the mother church).
It goes out just once every year at 8.3oPM on the Holy Friday.
I Battenti" (The Flgellants) are ready for the ritual couple of hours earlier, by boiling water and rosemary, getting the wine and preparing the "13 Lanze" (13 Glass Slivers) embedded on a disk in cork " Il Cardo" (The Cardoon).
This one comes with another disk with no slivers called " Rosa" ( Rose) which is needed to smooth the skin before every flagellation.
After showering with boiling rosemary water, "I Battenti" people start with the first flagellations which often take place in the warehouse where they dressed before, under the eyes of the closest relatives and the "Ecce Homo“, represented by one of them in a red dress.
The "Ecce Homo" follows the flaggelant for the whole ritual, tied to him with a rope.
Finally the ritual moves over on the streets in front of everybody, every door,at the bar of their friends, by the chapels in town and the churchyard of the mother church, always in the presence of the "Addolorata" statue.
The marching band of the town, in the meanwhile, sings “La Jona”, a funeral march that goes along with the statue. The “Addolorata passes,and every wall, stair and travertine gets painted in red.
I Battenti" are hundreds, and the whole town keeps watching them, as usual, from centuries, once a year.