The Feast of Fanòve, a religious celebration in Castellana Grotte
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 the City of the Caves in 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, that, 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 atmoshpere that, with the bonfires’ heat, enhances the traditional warmth of the Apulian hospitality.
The celebration of Fanòve consists of two important moments of the tradition.
The first one is the “diana” (a slow parade) in the night of January 10th, at 3 o’clock in the morning the devotees go to the olive oil mills to collect the oil which for the entire year nurtures the votive lamp at the bottom of the sacred image of the Virgin Mary of Vetrana. During this procession they are followed by the marching band of Castellana, that plays the slow march called “diana” with an ancient popolar tune.
During the evening of January 10th the historical remembrance of the miraculous relief from the plague of Castellana is performed by the young local actors.
Every year the feast of the Fanòve attracts thousands of visitors.
(Cover image: event website)
Go to the website The Feast of Fanòve, a religious celebration in Castellana Grotte