Holy Week in Paola
In Paola, Holy Week has always been a special time for reflection. A number of activities are held including the Good Friday Procession which is organised by the Parish and during which the Banda Kristu Re plays solemn marches. During this period the Society organised a number of activities including an exhibition, a pageant as well as a concert.
The Holy Week exhibition is held annually in the Society's basement. From a humble beginning in 1994 it has now evolved into an artistic exhibition, attracting a high number of people both from Paola and other localities.
The first exhibition, held in 1994 in the main hall of the Society, mainly consisted of a simple last supper table which is still used today but which has now been improved substantially. A number of sacred objects and Good Friday statues, most of which belonged to members of the Society, were also put on display. This turned out to be very popular and this success led the way for the successive improvements in this exhibition.
Since 1995 the exhibition has been held in the Society's basement. This provided a better environment as well as better access for the visitors. This decision was proven right by the high turnout of visitors.
Unfortunately, in 1996, the exhibition was ravaged by fire which practically destroyed everything on display. Two years of hard work were lost in seconds. This accident happened on the evening of Good Friday, minutes before the exhibition was going to be closed. A fresh start was therefore needed in 1997.
Since 1999, the main attraction in the exhibition is the authentic reconstruction of the Last Supper, complete with thirteen life-size figures representing Jesus Christ and his apostles. The statues were made by the Gozitan artist, Pawlu Aquilina whilst the set up of the room is taken care of by the members of the Society. Jesus Christ is at the centre of the display, surrounded by the twelve apostles sitting down. The room's lighting is provided by means of oil lamps and menorah (typical Jewish candelabra). The expressions on the faces of the statues, their clothing as well as their posture help the visitors to feel the atmosphere as explained in the Bible. The table is set up with a roasted lamb, unleavened bread, dried figs and tomatoes, koresth, pomegranate, eggs, a water jar and a wine jar. Next to the table is the torah, the Book of Lass, which recounts the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.
Apart from this display, one may also admire an ornamental table which is set up with a number of plates representing scenes from the passion of Christ and Good Friday symbols made out of rice, semolina and pasta. One here must surely admire the skills and patience of the members of the Society who prepared these plates.
In 2001 the exhibition has seen the addition of a full-size replica of the Holy Shroud of Turin. This was brought to Malta following contacts with Mr. Barrie Schwortz who was one of the official photographers during the scientific tests carried out on the shroud in 1978.
On display as well, one may admire the props used during the Pagaent which is held two weeks before Easter Saturday.
To commemorate this exhibition, the organisers issue a special publication, with information related to the Holy Week and to the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS AT THE EXHIBITION