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The Quasimodo Festival

(Reads: 2208, 12-Jun-2010)

The Quasimodo Festival which takes place every year the Sunday after Easter Sunday is a traditional festival celebrated by the farm workers (the "huasos") of Chile's Central Valley.

Months in advance the participants, known as "cuasimodistas", prepare the routes, their horses, outfits, decorations for their bicycles (and other vehicles if they have them) with images and representations of the Catholic Church, the Pope and declare their faith and the glory of Christ's resurrection. 

They also prepare a special cart to transport the priest so that he can give Holy Communion to the sick and elderly. In order for the horsemen who head up the convoy to know where to take the priest a white flag is placed on the roof or in another visible place of the pre-determined location.

This concept dates back the Council of Trent's declaration in 1563 which stated that the faithful must take Holy Communion at least one a week. Henceforth, it became common for the priests to go and visit the sick so that they could receive the sacrament. As the priests had to travel on solitary roads and through fields they had to travel in protected processions in case they were attacked by criminals on the way. The locals would therefore accompany the procession singing hymns proclaiming Christ's resurrection along the way.

This distinctive procession was named Quasimodo in honour of the first phrase in Latin (quasi modo géniti infantes) of the Mass given the first Sunday after Easter Sunday. This phrase has been changed over time to be known as it is today.

The festival has various routes which are decided by the "cuasimodistas" in conjunction with the Police who co-ordinate any necessary detours.

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