The Transformation of the Madonna Vasa Vasa into the U‘ncuontru

Madonna Vasa-Vasa

The Madonna Vasa Vasa is a well-known religious ritual in this part of Sicily. Every year on Easter Sunday, two processions wind through the old quarter of my hometown, Modica: one with the statue of the Risen Christ and the other with the statue of the Madonna in mourning, covered entirely with a black veil that reveals only her eyes.

Madonna Vasa Vasa ritual in Modica on Easter Sunday.

A noon on the dot, the two meet in Piazza Monumento, which is packed with a cheerful crowd numbering in the thousands. When the Madonna sees her resurrected son, she removes her black veil and starts to move her arms in a gesture of embrace as she is brought towards the Christ for the traditional “vasata”, a kiss and hug. It is a beautiful ritual, with a rhythm, charm and tension that are difficult to put into words. For the last two years, it has not been possible to hold the processions, but last Easter the artist Adrian Paci dreamed up a meeting between mother and son that took place secretly in the dead of night, far from the celebrating crowd.

Adrian Paci, U‘ncuontru, 2021

I had the honour of organising the event, U‘ncuontru, which kept this centuries-old ritual, beloved by all of Modica, alive, in spite of everything.
We are sure that we will be able to enjoy the magic of the Madonna Vasa-Vasa again next year, with all of our art-loving friends who come to visit us over Easter.

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