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AP PHOTOS: Young and old participate in Holy Week religious processions on Italy’s Procida island

Faithful carry an 18th century wooden Christ before the start of a procession the in Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry an 18th century wooden Christ before the start of a procession the in Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

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PROCIDA, Italy (AP) — Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small throughout the year when Catholic feast days are celebrated. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida’s Holy Week commemorations stand out.

The picturesque island in the Bay of Naples, often overlooked thanks to its more famous neighbors Ischia and Capri, hums with religious fervor in the days before Easter. Islanders young and old take part in processions reenacting Holy Thursday, when Christ presided over the Last Supper with his apostles, and commemorating his Good Friday crucifixion.

Members of a confraternity wait for the start of a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out.(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity wait for the start of a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity carry crosses and pray in the San Vincenzo church during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida iIland, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out.( AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity carry crosses and pray in the San Vincenzo church during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida iIland, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity wait for the start of a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity wait for the start of a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

This year’s events began Thursday evening, when boys and men dressed all in white and wearing crowns of thorns reenacted the Last Supper in the Sant’Antonio Abate church, blessing loaves of bread that were then distributed to islanders.

The commemorations culminated with a dawn procession Friday along the seaside road and through Procida’s narrow, pastel-hued streets.

Preparations for the events actually began weeks ago, with the construction of three dozen Carnival-like floats that are paraded through town, each one depicting a biblical scene. They are built from scratch by island artisans in the old unused prison and then assembled overnight in the prison courtyard.

Accompanied by a haunting funeral dirge performed by local musicians, the final floats of the procession include a statue of the Madonna known as the Addolorata, and an 18th-century wooden crucified Christ, lying on his back and covered with a black veil.

A member of a confraternity carries a cross during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A member of a confraternity carries a cross during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

If they aren’t participating directly in the processions or in the building of the floats, many of Procida’s 10,000 residents line the streets to watch the procession go by, some making the sign of the cross.

This year, some of the floats referred to current events, including one dedicated to the apocalypse that featured a small Israeli and Palestinian flag.

Members of a confraternity re-enact the Last Supper, bless loaves of bread in the Sant'Antonio Abate church during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity re-enact the Last Supper, bless loaves of bread in the Sant’Antonio Abate church during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity re-enact the Last Supper, bless loaves of bread in the Sant'Antonio Abate church during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity re-enact the Last Supper, bless loaves of bread in the Sant’Antonio Abate church during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A member of a confraternity carries a cross during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A member of a confraternity carries a cross during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity pray during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity pray during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity carry crosses during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Members of a confraternity carry crosses during a Holy Thursday procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A participant in the Friday procession arrives at the Terra Murata old city in Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

A participant in the Friday procession arrives at the Terra Murata old city in Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

An artisan eats pasta next to a "Mistero" a float depicting a biblical scene in a workshop set in the former prison of Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

An artisan eats pasta next to a “Mistero” a float depicting a biblical scene in a workshop set in the former prison of Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

An artisan gives the last touch to a "Mistero" a float depicting a biblical scene in a workshop set n the former prison of Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

An artisan gives the last touch to a “Mistero” a float depicting a biblical scene in a workshop set n the former prison of Procida Island, Italy, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Artisans assemble a "Mistero", a float depicting a biblical scene in the courtyard of the former prison of Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Artisans assemble a “Mistero”, a float depicting a biblical scene in the courtyard of the former prison of Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Artisans carry a "Mistero", a float depicting a biblical scene, out of the former prison of Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Artisans carry a “Mistero”, a float depicting a biblical scene, out of the former prison of Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Children look at a "Mistero", a float dedicated to the Apocalypse that features a small Israeli and Palestinian flag before the start of a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Children look at a “Mistero”, a float dedicated to the Apocalypse that features a small Israeli and Palestinian flag before the start of a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

People carry a "Mistero", a float depicting a biblical scene during a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

People carry a “Mistero”, a float depicting a biblical scene during a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Simone, 4-year old, stands next to his father Paolo before a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Simone, 4-year old, stands next to his father Paolo before a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

People carry a "Mistero", a float depicting a biblical scene during a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

People carry a “Mistero”, a float depicting a biblical scene during a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful walk with their babies during a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful walk with their babies during a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry an 18th century wooden Christ during a procession on Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry an 18th century wooden Christ during a procession on Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry chains during a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry chains during a procession in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry a statue of the Madonna known as the Addolorata, before the start of a procession the in Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry a statue of the Madonna known as the Addolorata, before the start of a procession the in Procida Island, Italy, early Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry an 18th century wooden Christ before the start of a procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Faithful carry an 18th century wooden Christ before the start of a procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Authorities follow an 18th century wooden Christ before the start of a procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. Italy is known for the religious processions that take over towns big and small when Catholic feast days are celebrated throughout the year. But even in a country where public displays of popular piety are a centuries-old tradition, Procida's Holy Week commemorations stand out. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Authorities follow an 18th century wooden Christ before the start of a procession the in Procida Island, Italy, Friday, March 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

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AP correspondent Nicole Winfield contributed from Rome.