Les Pleureuses – Romont, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura

Romont, Switzerland

Les Pleureuses

What this Good Friday parade lacks in baroque filigree it makes up in somber gothic imagery.  

Romont is a small village with Hallstatt cultural heritage situated in the Glane district of Fribourg. It’s also one of the last Roman Catholic villages in Switzerland to still hold an ancient Good Friday procession.

Called “Les Pleureuses” (wailing women/mourners) it may not be quite as melodramatic and pompous as more well-known Sardinian, Sicilian, or Spanish Good Friday processions. But in its simplicity, visual reduction, and musical repetition (the church choir is fantastic) it nevertheless provides a fascinating spectacle.

The mourners march and chant, all clad completely in black including full, impenetrable veils. Members of the procession carry the tools of Christ’s martyrdom such as a crown of thorns, nails, a whip, and a hammer, each delicately resting on a blood-red pillow. At the front of the parade, a hooded penitent carries a wooden crucifix in front of the rest, marking the Stations of the Cross.

Romont is about half an hour away from Gruyères, home of the H. R. Giger Museum & Bar so it’s possible to finish off your spiritual experience with an artistic dose of blasphemy.

Know Before You Go

Romont is easily accessible by train via both Berne and Fribourg.

After a steep ascent to the fortified city, the collegiate church of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is very easy to spot - it lies on the main village road in a straight line that goes from the medieval Boyer tower via the Savoy castle to the main church square.