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  • Virgin Mary of Trapani in La Goulette (Tunisia): An Interreligious Crossing

    Carmelo Russo

    Chapter from the book: Rommel C. & Viscomi J. 2022. Locating the Mediterranean: Connections and Separations across Space and Time.


    The Virgin Mary of Trapani in La Goulette (Tunisia) is an emblematic case for studying a Mediterranean crossing. Worship of Mary arrived in Tunis with Sicilian migrants, chiefly in the decades between the 19th and 20th centuries. During that period, La Goulette was a multi-ethnic and multi-religious town: Tunisians, Sicilians, French, and Maltese, and Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived there all together. Since 1885, in La Goulette, there has been a procession on 15 August in which both Jews and Muslims have participated. Tunisian independence disrupted this phenomenon: since 1962, the procession has been forbidden. On 15 August 2017, after 55 years, the Virgin Mary’s procession returned to La Goulette, an event celebrated even by local Muslims. The ‘new’ Virgin Mary of Trapani in La Goulette is the symbol of secularity – in the sense of laïcité – who sustains the rights of religious minorities in the public sphere. Alongside other contemporary multi-faith sites, La Goulette, the Virgin Mary of Trapani, and her procession have become less of a movement of the people and is now a larger symbol of the state and society at large.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Russo, C. 2022. Virgin Mary of Trapani in La Goulette (Tunisia): An Interreligious Crossing. In: Rommel C. & Viscomi J (eds.), Locating the Mediterranean. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33134/HUP-18-6

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    Published on July 6, 2022


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