Religious feasts in Corsica

La Easteris probably the most beloved feast, and the processions on the occasion of the Good Friday date back to very ancient times.

The most suggestive feasts are


U Catenacciu – Sartène

Said to be the most ancient ritual of Corsica, and its most intense and fascinating. It consists of a representation of Jesus’ ascent to Golgota, through a procession which takes place at night in the streets, with only torches and candles to light up the environment, in an extremely suggestive atmosphere. The procession is led by a chained man, the grand pénitent, also called pénitent rouge because of the red color of his dress.

The man walks barefoot and wears a heavy chain around his right heel, bringing a big wooden cross upon his shoulders. Along the way stretching out from the church of Sainte-Marie until place Porta, the chained man is followed by the pénitent blanc, representing Simone di Cirene, who helps him standing up during the three symbolic falls. After him, a group of pénitents noires takes Christ’s statue on a coffin. The identity of the chained man is only known by the priest, and in the past it was usually a criminal that played the role, that would leave the village after the end of the ceremony.

La Cerca – Erbalunga

A famous procession of hooded penitents which owes its origins to an ancient fertility ritual. The procession starts from Saint-Erasme church, at the entrance of the village Erbalunga, and winds along a path of some kilometers, passing through the small mountain villages of Pozzo, Poretto and Silgaggia, collecting people on the way. At dusk the hooded penitents go back to Erbalunga, making a spiral and lifting up their candles until they get to Place de Grulle where the spiral dissolves, while another part of the procession takes the shape of a cross.

A Granitola – Calvi

The procession of the barefoot penitents starts from the cathedral of Saint Jean-Baptiste, inside the citadel, and terminates in the baroque church of Sainte Marie Majeure. The procession is accompanied by the brothers of Saint Erasme, dressed in red, who take Christ to the cross, and the brothers of Saint Antoine, dressed in grey, carrying the statue of the Black Virgin. Opposite the church some suggestive religious cappella songs are sang.

Other typical feasts are


Fête du Christ Noir – Bastia (3 may)

The Black Christ is a wooden oak crucifix found in the sea in 1428, surrounded by a luminous aura. It is considered the patron saint of the fishermen of Bastia, and every year it is carried on procession through the district of Terra Nova.

Saint-Erasme – Bastia, Ajaccio and Calvi (2nd June)

This is a festival in honor of Corsican fishermen and sailors and of their patron saint. The feast is celebrated with processions until the port, where the boats benediction takes place, accompanied by fireworks. The possibility to taste some very good grilled fish has been drawing in the last years many participants and tourists.

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges – Colle di Bavella (5th June)

a pilgrimage to the statue of the Madonna della Neve, placed on one of the highest mountain passes of the islands.

Fête de la nativité de la Vierge – Bonifacio (8th Septmeber)

this feast is a good occasion to try the aubergines, said “à la Bonifacienne”, offered to all participants.

Scopri cosa fare in Corsica