Honorable Mention TOKYO-2017 People / Culture

Battenti di Calabria

  • Photographer
    Jordi Cohen

The celebration of the 'Battienti' is renewed in Verbicaro and Nocera Terinese, one of the highlights of the Holy Week in Calabria. The ritual, in many cases handed down from father to son, is repeated for centuries: the 'battienti', dressed in red with a simple short shorts, a T-shirt and a handkerchief around the head, publicly mortify their body with the scourging until make the blood flow from the wounds caused by the 'cardu' or 'cardiddo', a cork disc on which, thanks to a layer of wax, thirteen sharp pieces of glass, called 'lanze', are fixed. Full of wounds and blood, wanting to imitate those that have been the sufferings of Jesus, the doors travel through the streets of the town, releasing on the walls the signs of the bloody hands. The celebration of the doors always arouses a heated debate: from some it is considered a bloody rite and not in step with the times. And if on the one hand there are those who would like the abolition of this practice on the other there are its supporters, who in the flagellation see the expression of popular devotion.

Jordi Cohen is a free-lance documentary photographer based in Barcelona. His work has been published in the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, National Geographic, Mirror, Sunday Telegraph, CNN Blog, Leica Magazine, La Vanguardia, El Periódico, Photo France, XL Semanal and Piel de Foto among others.Has exhibited in Europe and America, to highlight San Diego Art Institute, CEH “Manege” St. Petersburg, Royal Geographical Society of London, Gallería Hector Garcia of Mexico City, International Festival of Social Photography in Sarcelles (France) and Couvent des Minimes of Perpignan.