Virgin Mary Running Through the Square – Sulmona
April 2022. On Easter, an old religious and traditional celebration.
The Virgin Mary Running Through the Square is a feast celebrated on Easter (April 17, 2022) in the town of Sulmona, in the province of l’Aquila.
The event is very famous also abroad and attracts thousands of people in Sulmona.
The origins of the feast are unsure. The Brotherhood of Saint Mary of Loreto that organizes the feast (called Lauretani) conserves a photo of 1861, but the tradition may date back to the Middle Age. The feast of the Virgin Mary Running Through the Square recalls the gathering of Virgin Mary and Resurrected Christ.
After the Mass, celebrated by the Bishop in the Church of Saint Mary della Tomba, the procession of the Brotherhood of Saint Mary of Loreto walks through the city streets.
In the front, there is the green standard of the Brotherhood followed by the brethren carrying small lamps, the statue of Resurrected Christ, of Saint John and Saint Peter.
The Statue of Resurrected Christ stands in a canopy which is deposed at the Square’s entrance, under the central arch of the aqueduct Svevo. On the other side of the square the statue of the Virgin Mary, in grief, arrives and waits for the two Apostles John and Peter.
The statue of Saint John approaches the statue of the Virgin Mary, representing the announce of the resurrection of her Son.
According to the legend, the Madonna don’t believe to the issue and Saint John go back to Saint Peter hoping that she’ll believe him.
In Sulmona’s tradition, Peter is na n’zegna fauzone (a liar, referring to the 3 denials “before the rooster wakes up”) so Mary neither believe Saint Peter. But Saint John tries again and finally, the Virgin Mary accepts to follow the Apostles in the church of Saint Philip. At the exit Mary recognizes his Son Resurrected and suddenly the black cape and the handkerchief of the Madonna are lifted with a complicated and secret mechanism with strings, which is only known by the brotherhood and the family of Erasmo.
The moment is exciting because it shows the Virgin’s green dress embroidered with gold, on which stands a red rose. Meanwhile, 12 doves fly. At noon, Virgin Mary starts her race to meet Christ, with the music of the band, the applause of the crowd and noise of firecrackers. The moment she arrives in front of Christ is touching and the brethren embrace one another.
According to tradition, if the sequence of the phases of the feast flows without obstacles the year will be propitious; otherwise, if something doesn’t work, there will be bad luck or natural calamities.
The worst premonition is the falling of Madonna’s statue during the race.
In Sulmona people remember that in 1914 and 1940 two falls occurred, which symbolized the prelude of the next wars.