Processions as we know them in the West came into existence in the era of the Roman Empire, when Christianity became the official religion of the state. During the Middle Ages when Christianity became fragmented into a myriad of political and ecclesiastical jurisdictions, villagers created support groups in the form of fraternities which had their own religious festivities; these traditions have survived in Spain and Latin America. The Reformation broke the religious monopoly of the Catholic Church and rejected many Catholic traditions including processions. This entry distinguishes among six kinds of religious processions, depending on their social function.

There are only four official Catholic processions left, according to the Rituale Romanum. Rogation Days and Ember Days have been abolished following the Vatican II reforms. Candlemas, which ...

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