Time of Passion, time of Holy Week in Puglia. The region, like all the South of Italy, is characterized by ancient, ancestral rites, perfectly inserted in the austere climate of moments linked to the death of Christ.
Sanctuary of St. Matthew the Evangelist (year 1000 c.a)Foto San Marco in Lamis (Facebook)
We are in San Marco in Lamis, internal Foggia area of the Gargano, a land of work and pastoralism, today growing with many difficulties. But also volatile land, which believes in beauty and culture as tools for redemption. Land also of devotions, like the one that is hosted in the sanctuary of Santa Maria di Stignano. Not to mention the famous Franciscan convent of San Matteo, a historic shelter for the people of Abruzzo and Molise on a pilgrimage to the cave of San Michele in Monte Sant’Angelo. But let's get to what happens during Holy Week.
Foto di Roberto D'Agostino
Here are the so-called "fracchie" of San Marco, hundreds of fires that on the night of Holy Friday, as early as the eighteenth century, light up in the streets of the town. These are large wooden torches that accompany the Our Lady of Sorrows and at the same time illuminate, with great charm, the narrow streets of the village. Truly one of the best known rites these days, not only in the South but also throughout Italy.
Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the cult of Our Lady of Sorrows grew more and more and so the dedicated confraternity also organized itself with greater force. At first small, the torches then grew to the current size. The procession of Our Lady of Sorrows has been attested since 1824. They were designed to offer light to the faithful who came to the city from the small church built in honor of the Virgin. Then electricity came but the cult did not change and so the tradition continues.
The fracchie on wheel were born, in considerable dimensions but regulated after some problems of order and security in the first decades of the twentieth century. The village, in which highly recommended is a tour in the original historical district called La Padula, prepares with great participation the event. Cultural associations, administration and local church: a set of faith and community love. This year, at the Balilla building, a historical exhibition will be staged on the fracchie, with the artistic presence of the Madonnari of the Neapolitan Academy. Also important will be the contribution of the committee of the Living Via Crucis of San Marco, with characters in period dresses .
The small town near Foggia deserves one of those visits able to penetrate the cultural and historical reality of the place. The opportunity presented in these particular days of the year is definitely the best.