Monday, March 24, 2008

the Crucifiction parade

[Christ carrying the Cross past Queen Video on College]

i'm currently living in Toronto's Little Italy, where every year there's an Easter parade unlike any i've ever witnessed... Sponsored by the St. Francis of Assisi Church, the parade incorporates the stations of the cross (with a slew of different men playing Jesus), sombre marching bands, elderly Italian men in extravagant hats (Easter bonnets, really), and a great many religious banners. it's an eerie contemporary version of medieval Easter processions--i was intrigued to see one group in the parade wearing the traditional cape and scallop shells of the Compostela pilgrims.

[scallops & feathers]

this year, the weather was gorgeous on Good Friday and the Star tells me there were 15,000 people at the parade. certainly, College Street was hopping... and although the parade was nothing like the usual floats & clowns & bunnies, it was moving (if a bit creepy--the serious guys in robes, along with the whips, blood, thorns, etc, can get a little chilling.)

but i do like the fact that the parade is a reminder that Easter is about so many things--the celebration of spring, spiritual rebirth, and yes, also bunnies. a friend explained that actually the Easter bunny & eggs come from a Saxon spring fertility goddess, whose symbol was the we have rabbits & all those brightly coloured eggs. apparently it's all the fault of wily St. Gregory, who encouraged Christian missionaries in Britian to incorporate pagan practices, rather than supress them. [the mourning Virgin]

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