From Irpinia to Puglia: the bonfires of San Giuseppe between joy and tradition

From Irpinia to Puglia: the bonfires of San Giuseppe between joy and tradition
From Irpinia to Puglia: the bonfires of San Giuseppe between joy and tradition

Arian Irpino

In some municipalities the lighting of the bonfires took place earlier, already this evening as in the locality of Pagliara di Frigento and Villamaina, in the others instead starting from Ariano as per tradition, tomorrow evening, on the day of San Giuseppe. Cerreto and Tesoro are among the areas where the event promises to be the most heartfelt. But fires will symbolically be lit everywhere.

And it will be, as always, a sort of competition dedicated to friendship and being together. An ancient custom handed down from generation to generation.

Preparations that in past years already began after the Christmas holidays with the classic collection of “fasci” in the countryside, to then set up mega bonfires in the squares and districts.

Real challenges which then concluded with a great party and tasting among families and parish communities. A festive atmosphere that is partially returning after a dark and sad period, where even the simple lighting of a bonfire had become forbidden and so difficult that it discouraged everyone.

And tomorrow’s celebration will also be dedicated to the twinning in the nearby province of Foggia bordering with Aryan And Savignanoto Monteleonein the highest municipality of the Puglia.

Monteleone and Carpino: “Two communities, one big family”. Two Pro Loco tomorrow in celebration on the Dauni Mountains between folklore, taranta, gastronomy, prayer and devotion to St. Joseph.

Father’s Day is celebrated on March 19 as well as St. Joseph’s, a much loved saint in Italy, foster father of Jesus. On this day, religiosity and popular tradition come together to create a fascinating mix of rites that have been handed down for generations.

However, the correspondence between this anniversary and the date reserved by the Christian liturgy for the Holy Spouse of Mary should not be misleading: the feast actually has much more remote origins, and has its roots in the archaic rites of fertility of the Earth celebrated by shepherds and peasants in proximity of the spring equinox: they lit large propitiatory bonfires to grace the forces of nature in view of spring, the harvest season and symbol of rebirth.

“From the fifteenth century onwards, the Christian celebration of Saint Joseph, father of Jesus, the humble carpenter who fled several times, persecuted and rejected, was grafted onto these agricultural celebrations, elected protector of artisans and the poor. March 19th thus became the day also dedicated to the poor and wayfarers, during which the families as a community prepared food and invited the most derelict, a tradition that was perpetuated over the centuries until 1968, when it also became the lay father’s day ”.

Monteleone, the highest village in the Region, the navel of Italy (in the photo), does not escape this centuries-old tradition.

The village of murals and the revolt of bread, a land rich in history and hospitable, a crossroads of the connecting routes between Campania and Puglia, between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Adriatic Sea, once crossed by the Via Herculea, the bifurcation of the ancient via traiana, tomorrow it will host the community of Carpino. The twinning between the Pro Loco of Monteleone and that of Carpino, supported by the two municipal administrations, aims to create a network and create new opportunities for cultural exchange, to enhance and make the territories known. “The young musicians will enliven the streets of the village of the “Leonesse di Puglia” with the love songs of the Carpinese tradition, of which they are the legitimate heirs. The cultural exchange between the two realities of the province of Foggia, therefore, will begin in the early hours of the morning and will continue throughout the day”. From the lighting of the bonfire at around 7.30 pm until late at night, the central square of the sleepy Dauna town will be a laboratory of music and flavours. “It will be possible to taste the typical local dishes, prepared by the members of the Pro Loco of Monteleone and the Pancotto alla Carpinese, seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, prepared and offered by the members of the Pro Loco of Carpino”. The evening will be enlivened by Ciro Iannacone and his band.

The 16th century obelisk, the town hall, the stately homes, the mural in honor of the rioters, the stone portals and the war memorial by Vito Pardo will frame the event. The bonfire of the two communities is nothing more than an event created to allow the community to come together to sing, play, but above all to be together and have fun. The wooden pyre, the great Bonfire of San Giuseppe stands in a space, that space which represents a meeting of civilizations and peoples, of traditions.

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