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Septennial Rituals - Italy

The General Procession of the Septennial Rites of Penance takes place in Guardia Sanframondi (Benevento - Italy) every seven years. It is the largest self-punishment rite in the western world.
The "Flagellanti" are called so, because they use an ancient tool of penance the 'discipline' that consists of a group of metal strips, joined by a chain with which they are stricken.
The practice of flagling dates back to the 11th century, the phenomenon, initially confined to monastic life and relegated to the rules of self-mortification imposed on individual monks by religious orders belonging to them. The 'flagellants' for the first time appear in public in a procession organized in Perugia in 1260 by Fra Raniero Fasani.
Instead the "Battenti", strike their chests with a disc of cork inlaid with needles called "spugna". To cleanse, disinfect and keep the wound open, some assistants, between the ranks of the "Battenti", dispense white wine on the sponge.
The "Flagellanti" also have the occasional task of a true 'service of order', making wide among the spectators, who in the narrow streets of the old town may eventually block the passage of the procession. ITALY 2017

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