Fanòve feast – Castellana
Religious devotion and popular tradition within the spectacular bonfires in January 11th
The Feast of the Fanòve is a religious and folkloristic event that brightens and ignites the heart of Castellana, the City of the famous Caves on the night of January 11th.
It’s a celebration day and also a historical commemoration which remembers the miracle of the Virgin Mary of Vetrana, which, in 1691, saved Castellana from the plague.
The story tells that, during the period of the plague, two priests of Castellana had the same vision: the people suffering from the plague would have been healed only if they were anointed with the oil that was burning in the votive lamp of Virgin Mary of Vetrana. And that is what exactly they did. Once the plague was defeated, everything that could have been infected was burnt with big bonfires. Since then, every year in January 11th, great piles of woods are prepared and ignited in the evening, and during all night almost 100 huge bonfires burn in the whole city to recall the event and to celebrate the liberation from the plague.
The feast is obviously embellished by the wide proposal of typical food, by folk singing, throughout an atmosphere that, with the bonfires’ heat, enhances the traditional warmth of the Apulian hospitality.
Every year the feast of the Fanòve attracts thousands of visitors.
(Cover image: Castellana caves website)
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