Easter Sunday

Maria Santissima della Mercede, Messina, Sicily, Italy

Messina celebrates Easter with a procession of the statues of the Risen Christ and St. Mary of Mercy from the Church of Santa Maria della Mercede. At the climatic moment, announced with bells, band music, and gunshots, Mary's arms open toward her Son, releasing a flock of birds from her mantle. The event is called the Spampanati (Overblown) festival because of its floral costumes and decorations. Evening fireworks conclude the festivities. (Information from "Festa degli spampanati," www.messinaweb.eu/home.php?page_id=314&id=4. Picture of St. Mary's statue during the procession, with birds hiding in her mantle, from "La festa degli spampanati," Photoweb - Foto e video di Antonio Abbate, photoweb.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/la-festa-degli-spampanati/.)  

Other communities also enact the meeting of Mary and the risen Jesus:

bulletS'incontru, Teulada, Cagliari, Sardegna (The Encounter) 
bulletMadonna che scappa in piazza, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy (Madonna who hurries in the square)
bulletMadonna del Santissimo Rosario, Lanciano, Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy
bulletL'Incontro tra la Madonna e Gesù Risorto, Ribera, Agrigento, Sicily, Italy (The Encounter)
bulletMadonna Vasa Vasa, Modica, Ragusa, Sicily, Italy (Kiss Kiss Madonna)
bulletL'affrontata, Briatico, Vibo Valentia, Calabria, Italy (The Confrontation)
bulletNuestra Señora de Belén, Pilas, Sevilla, Andalucia, Spain

Also commemorated this date:

bulletMaria Waldrast, Matrei am Brenner, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria. Statue found in larch tree, 1407. 
bulletMadonna Rossa, S.Demetrio ne' Vestini, Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy (Red Madonna). At the Gloria during the Easter mass, the Madonna's costume changes from black mourning to red.
bulletSanta María la Madre, Ourense, Ourense, Galicia, Spain (St. Mary the Mother). Procession.
bulletVirgen de la Encarnación, El Ballestero, Albacete, Aragón, Spain (Virgin of the Incarnation). Romería.
bulletVirgen de la Bienvenida, Torre de Don Miguel, Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain (Welcome Virgin). Romería.
bulletNuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Fresnedoso de Ibor, Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain
bulletNuestra Señora de la Rivera, Villar del Rey, Badajoz, Extremadura, Spain (Our Lady of the Stream). Romería. 
bulletMaría Santísima Reina de Nuestra Alegría, Córdoba, Córdoba, Andalusia, Spain (Most Holy Mary, Queen of Our Joy)
bulletVirgen de las Cruces, El Guijo, Córdoba, Andalucia, Spain (Virgin of the Crosses). Romería

Where We Walked ~~~ Mary Ann Daly