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Feast of the Madonna della Bruna

02/07/2018

It is the most important religious feast in Matera, which on July 2nd celebrates the Madonna della Bruna, whose ancient effigy is venerated in the Duomo. At dawn, the “pastoral procession” brings the picture of the Madonna through the streets of the Old Town; at noon another procession takes the statue of the Madonna and Child, escorted by knights in epoch Spanish costumes from the cathedral to the outskirts of the city; in the evening the statue of the Madonna is placed on a large, exquisite triumphal papier-mâché float (usually in the form of a vessel), which goes through the town decorated with characteristic lights, up to the cathedral, where the statue is brought back; and here is the climax of the feast: the papier-mâché float returns to the central Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where the “strazzo”, ritual destruction, takes place, where young people in the city reduce it to shreds, keeping a small piece to take home bits and and pieces for good luck, for prosperity and well-being. A ritual of ancient origins, which still symbolizes the cycle of death and rebirth of nature.

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