Sunday, April 1, 2012

Just an ordinary unusual morning

Sunday, April 1
Just another ordinary day in Italy, and by that I mean extraordinary by other standards. As we get off the train in Lucca to go to church, we find the piazza outside the station full of people in costumes, milling around, talking to each other and posing for photos. What is this? We have to stop and ask.

We have stumbled into a convention of the Raduno Cosplayers of Lucca, a group of young adults who have created their own sort of springtime version of Carnevale. The term cosplayers combines the words costume (spelled the same in Italian and English) and play, and the two-day event allows the members to design and show off their favorite costumes from comic books, movies or really almost anything. The event is organized almost entirely online. Members meet, mingle and form a much-photographed procession through Lucca. In the evening, they will meet in another piazza for a choreographed flash mob dance. Costume prizes will be awarded, group photos taken and sword fight and comic book trivia contests held. I can’t guarantee that I got that all 100 percent correct because of my imperfect language skills, but I think I have rendered it accurately. We cant help but think of Suzye and Lindsey, who also love to dress in costumes. They would definitely feel at home in this group.

When we get to the next piazza, we find another grand procession. Today is Palm Sunday, and the procession includes members of various Catholic churches, holding palm branches, singing and marching behind the priests, who carry a cross with a statue of Jesus. We stop for just a moment, as we have only a couple of minutes to get to our own church service.

After church, we hurry to catch our return train, but Lucy remembers we need to buy orange juice, so we pop into a little storefront shop. Alas, I realize I am out of money, and there is not enough time to go to a bank machine and get back to buy the juice and still catch the train. The lady in the store says we can come back and pay later, though. We have never been in this store before, we are obviously not from Lucca, and yet she does not even bother to take down our names. We say we can’t come back until Friday, and she is fine with that, too. While this event doesn’t match the visual color of the two processions we witnessed this morning, it does provide us with a more personal example of an aspect we love about this country. And all this has taken place in the space of two 15-minute walks to and from the train station.

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