The Pull of the Cart – Mirabella Eclano
In September. A 25-meter-high obelisk pulled by 6 pairs of oxen
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Usually the Saturday before the third Sunday of September Mirabella Eclano, in the province of Avellino, is celebrating Our Lady of Sorrows.
During this event, the traditional Pull of the Cart takes place.
On a cart, pulled by 6 pairs of oxen and a multitude of men, is placed an obelisk about 25 meters high and made of wooden beams covered with hand-made straw panels.
The “funaioli“, or the men employed to pull the cart, have to carry the obelisk along the streets without dropping it.
The fall of the obelisk, in fact, represents a great omen of doom.
In 1881 and 1961 the float struck the ground, announcing the famine that struck Irpinia in 1882 and the earthquake of 1962.
For this reason, the whole route of the Pull of the Cart (lasting about 5 hours!) is followed with great emotion and participation by the inhabitants of Mirabella Eclano.
The Pull of the Cart ends with the carry in triumph of the helmsman and with the blessing of the animals in front of the church dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows.
The festival first took place in 1600 when the inhabitants began to offer part of the wheat to Our Lady of Sorrows even if at that time the cart was filled with wheat by the farmers and had a three-meter turret.
During the 1800s the obelisk was modified until it reached its present shape.
After the festival, the obelisk is disassembled into several panels and stored until its reassembly at the end of August to once again be the protagonist of the event.
credit photos: il carro.net