Festa della Madonna della Bruna 2023 will take place on Sunday, July 2, 2023, in the beautiful city of Matera.
The event, popularly known as Festa della Bruna, is a religious feast held every year since 1389, in honor of the Madonna della Bruna, the patron saint of Matera. The 2023 edition will be the 633 edition of the festival.
The origins of the feast are lost in time. The custom, handed down from one generation to another, was enriched over time by countless variations.
According to legend, a farmer, in his way to Matera, took a young lady in his cart. On the outskirts of the city, in the Piccianello district, she got off the cart and asked the peasant to tell the bishop of Matera that she was the Mother of Christ.
When he heard that, the bishop, along with the clergy and the townspeople, rushed to welcome the Madonna, but they found a statue in her place. The statue of the Virgin was brought to the town on a decorated triumphal chariot. Today, the statue of the Madonna is located inside a reliquary in the city’s Cathedral.
Until the 16th century, the feast was characterized mainly by a procession that took place at dawn, called the Procession of the Shepherds (Processione dei Pastori), in which the local shepherds, early in the morning, wandered along the streets of the town in honor of the Madonna della Bruna.
In the 17th century, a wooden triumphal chariot was used for the translation of the statue during the procession, and knights dressed in Roman uniforms began to accompany the chariot. At the end of the feast, the chariot was destroyed by the participants. The first evidence of the existence of a triumphal chariot dates back to 1690.
In the 18th century, by a Bourbon decree, the procession took place only in the morning. In the next century, the decree was annulled, and the procession took place throughout the day, from morning to night.
In the 20th century, the tradition takes the current shape, with impressive accessories and decorations, with fantastic illuminations and fireworks, for the pleasure of both locals and tourists alike.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The feast will begin on July 2, at 5.00 am, with a Holy Mass held in Piazza San Francesco d’Assisi, in front of the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi, followed by the Procession of the Shepherds. Later, the statue of the Madonna will be carried in procession from the Matera Cathedral to the parish of Piccianello. The knights, dressed in medieval costumes, will accompany the statue.
In the afternoon, the chariot with the statue of the Madonna della Bruna will return to the Cathedral, and the statue will be placed inside the church. Once the religious part of the feast will be over, the pagan custom will begin. The chariot will be taken to Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where it will be destroyed by the crowd.
Festa della Bruna 2023 will end at night with a firework display which will illuminate the Gravina and the ancient Sassi of Matera.
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