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Many of the Neapolitan celebrations go back to ancient traditions. Some of them remember today pagan cults. As in antiquity, the celebration becomes a moment of joy and exuberance, in which all accumulated tensions of the society get discharged and Naples problems forget. At the same time, it presents itself as a street drama, in which the people play the main role, and even religious festivals get a theatrical dimension. The sacred cause get forgotten in the bustle and fireworks, while there are waiting numerous stands with all kinds of goodies.

Christmas and New Year's Eve

The festival is dominated by the sound of bagpipes (zampogna) and fireworks. The construction of the Nativity is at the most important thing for all families, while the town prepares itself with stands of honey cakes, fish and eel (capitoni).

Celebration of Madonna dell’Arco

The festival is celebrated in Sant’Anastasia, a village at the foot of Vesuvius, and remains a miracle from the 16th Century: When the ball of a crocket player hit a fresco with the Maria, there flowed blood from the image. Since that moment on each Easter the men walk without shoes (fujenti) along the streets and ask for alms. Thereafter there is a procession, where the sacred image get carried around. Finally the people improvise a pagan Bacchanal by the sound of cymbals and castanets.

Karfreitag auf Procida

For the procession there are costumed men and children behind a veiled dead Christ statue. The procession ends at the harbour in front of a replica of the Holy Sepulchre. The flowers and ears get put down as symbol for the resurrection.

Culture and Traditions Archive