Every year, sixty days after Easter, the Church celebrates “Corpus Domini”: a religious solemnity in honour of the Eucharist (the ‘body’ – corpus – of Christ in the sacramental sign of bread): an observance that first developed in Italy the thirteenth century and in 1263 was extended by Pope Urban IV to all of Christian Europe.
In Barga as elsewhere, from that period the feast has been celebrated in solemn fashion, with a majestic candlelit procession in which the Eucharistic bread is borne through the city streets in a glass container know as a ‘monstrance’, which allows people to see the consecrated bread wafer.
Petals are arranged in patterns, quite often featuring hearts, on the streets the procession will pass through on its way up to the Duomo.
For the past two years that has been a small “revolution” in the way these images are created. Last year the inclusion of white flour in some of the designs added another dimension to some of the designs which became almost painterly in execution.
This year the inclusion of coloured sawdust has added to the possibilities making the designs even more adventurous.
As can be seen in the images below, in what was almost a nod in the direction of street graffiti, there was even a image made using templates and coloured sawdust in place of spray paint.
The unfortunate arrival of the rain just after the road had been closed and work had started on the petal designs made it look at one point as though all their hard work was to be in vain but in the end, a slightly smaller procession did leave Sacro Cuore but instead of making their way to the Duomo, they only went as far as San Rocco in Barga Giardino.
Click on the link below to hear (in Italiano) a brief description of the Corpus Domini event.