The Runaway Madonna in Sulmona
On Easter Sunday, Mary runs to Jesus after his resurrection: it happens every year in Sulmona, during the traditional “Runaway Madonna” (“La Madonna che scappa”), a ritual carried out every year by the town’s Confraternita di Santa Maria di Loreto.
The wonderful theatrical re-enactment stars Mary, Peter and John. After the latter announces the miraculous resurrection, Mary slowly follows the two apostles down the street; she is clearly puzzled by the news, until she sees her son down the road and happily runs towards him.
The open-air ritual takes place between the Church of San Filippo – where the statue of the grieving Mary starts her procession, with those of the apostles – Piazza Garibaldi – where the Madonna runs to her son – and the Swabian Aqueduct – where the statue of Jesus resurrected is placed on a canopy.
The beautiful event comes to life thanks to the colors, silence, and final explosion of joy in the crowd, taking part in the incredible relief and happiness of Mary that is also represented with a spectacular change of clothes: once she has “seen” Jesus, a complicated wire system drops her black cape to reveal a gorgeous green dress.
We are not sure when the ritual began exactly: some say during the Middle Ages, others the 17th century.
What is certain is that this year, like every year, this ritual will add to the beauty and joy of Easter day.
Photos via: ©Ernst