JANUARY
16-17-18
   
The Patronal festival of St Antonion Abate is celebrated in Novoli on the 16th, 17th and 18th of January. The festival includes a variety of initiatives such as religious rites, lights, exhibitions, fairs, band concerts, popular music, meetings. The preparations for the festival begins long before the prescribed date, because the organization (that this year is coordinated by the Focara Foundation) has become more and more complex in recent years. The festival attracts pilgrims, devotees, tourists, travellers, scholars and folklore enthusiasts. The climax is the construction of the giant bonfire (called Focara) made of grapevines. The bonfire has been lighted up for centuries at 8pm on the 16th of January and this ritual is acknowledged as Heritage of the Apulian Culture. The trimmed grapevines are carried in the middle of the big square and then piled up in order to build a pyre that is 20 metres-large and 25 metres high. Human chains on long ladders carry the bundles upwards. The structure must be built in a symmetrical way in order to withstand the bad weather and its own weight. The intense eve of the festival starts with the popular and lively “embellishment” of the bonfire. While the local band plays, the builders carry the Saint on top of the Focara. In the afternoon, in the forecourt of the shrine, all the animals are blessed and the Venetian wooden statue of the Saint is carried around town by a long and heartfelt procession. The evening closes with the spectacular lighting of the Focara and the explosion of fireworks that climb all around the bonfire with a spectacular visual impact. The Focara burns until the following day like a giant candle, surrounded by concerts, stalls and stands, food and wine products and the showcase of Cantine del Parco del Negramaro. The other point of reference in the feast is the Church of St Antonio, attracting a constant flow of pilgrims and devotees. The central boroughs of Novoli are completely lit with lights that design architectures along the streets full of stalls. The festival of St Anthony Abate in Novoli shines a light on the entire community, with its ancestral bond with the Saint and the land. The festival opens the community to the many visitors and pilgrims, revives the local agricultural and food traditions such as the fish dinner on the 17th of January, according to the Mediterranean diet which is UNESCO's global heritage. From the privileged spot where it is located, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the festival is a cult, a moment of worship that produces civil and institutional relations and promotes the dialogue with authorities and cultural realities of other places, with the good fire of Apulia, a messenger of peace in the world.
   
 



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Photogallery
Photogallery
Photogallery
Photogallery
Testi Comune di Novoli - Foto di M. Mele, E. Koci, L. Fanelli