The Festa della Madonna Bruna
The quiet that greeted us, although the old center is a tourist draw, could very well have been because every sane person was well within the shady cover of their homes or hotels. So when I ran across James's Wandering Italy Blog and the post about the Festa della Madonna Bruna in Matera in July(!!!) I decided that the locals are either die-hard traditionalists or really very bored.
In brief, an intricately made float of the Madonna, made in paper, is carted throughout the streets during the hot daylight hours. Towards nightfall, the float is then protected by the town police, only to fall siege to marauding youth. A real fight ensues and at some point the youth tear the float apart. And everyone is happy.
Matera's Tradition is Meaningful
Read James's entertaining account for a better 'view'. For those who just see the action, it seems the citizens of Matera have succumed to the intense heat. But the festival is symbolic; an acting out of their hopes for themselves and in the future of their youth. In James's words:
"The youth, representing new ideas and rebirth, had torn apart the old, established order. And this sign of rebirth meant that fertility would come to the fields, and the hard life being scratched out of Basilicata's soil would be a little less tedious with the harvest to come."On a personal level, it makes me think of what things in my life need to be ripped out in order for me to see more growth in my life. I know I get too comfortable and habits, good and bad, set down roots which prevent any other good thing from growing. Time to go weeding.