Festivals and traditions

The rich heritage of history, devotion and folklore of the Daunia survives in the form of rituals and traditions that represent the continuity, for the current communities, of material culture and popular faith. So the different centers come alive to remember a historical event, the appearance of a saint or, more often, to evoke the rites of Holy Week. Famous is the medieval parade that takes place in Lucera in August in honor of the Assumption, in which the festivities for the expulsion of the Saracens of Frederick II are revived. Instead, he recalls the holy bishop Alberto, the procession that the devotees of Pietramontecorvino follow on May 16, up to the remains of the medieval town of Montecorvino, the ancient diocese where Alberto exercised his episcopal mandate.

In addition, many times the holidays coincide with moments of passage linked to the phases of agriculture, through rituals that seem to reach us from very old habits. This is what happens in Castelnuovo della Daunia, Biccari and Roseto Valfortore which, around January 17, fires and “fanoje” are lit for the festivities in honor of Saint Antony Abbot. Through a collective party the community greets the new agricultural year. The ceremony of lighting bonfires is repeated, but on the day of St. Joseph, in Troia, Castelluccio Valmaggiore, Bovino and Faeto. Here, moreover, it is customary on Ascension Day to invoke the divine blessing on the countryside, while, during the celebration for Madonna of the Ears on August 15, the procession thanks for the harvest.

Equally suggestive and now back in vogue are the “fucacoste and cocc ‘priatories” that illuminate in Orsara the night of November 1. Fifteen days before the All Saints’ Day, adults and children compete to pile brooms and other wood that will be burned to lighten the night of the dead, while, in front of the houses, the anthropomorphic pumpkins hang with a lighted candle inside. But surely the most exciting moments are experienced during the Holy Week celebrations.

The processions of the chains and of the mysteries are of great acclaim in Troia. The procession is a moment of purification and expiation for the faithful who interpret the main characters. Particularly moving is the parade of children who, according to ancient tradition, bear the signs of the Crucifixion, among which stands out the child bearing the wooden rooster, symbol of the denial of Peter. It is an image of great tenderness, a symbol of faith and memory that passes through the thread of the new generations, to keep the heart of these communities, even in spite of the depopulation processes they are experiencing. And it is the identity of these communities that is the greatest treasure we invite you to discover.

Vincenzo Rizzi