Gallipoli to enjoy a lively midsummer feast
In the midst of summer, from July 23-25, the popular Puglia port town of Gallipoli comes alive with one of its biggest annual events, the Feast of Santa Cristina.
The event is the town’s most significant religious feast, and dates back hundreds of years. Not only does the event honour the saint, but it also celebrates the town’s fishermen and how they have contributed to the town’s prosperity.
Festivities begin in the early hours of the morning with the explosion of the ’Carcasse’, a special firework which marks the beginning of the feast. The main highlight, however, is the afternoon procession which combines both religious and maritime tradition. A statue of the Saint is first carried on a boat out to sea around the coastline, which is said to bless the harbour’s waters as it sails. The statue is then brought back to land, where it becomes part of a mesmerising procession that makes its way around the winding streets of Gallipoli.
Another traditional part of the feast is the game of the Cuccagna, which attracts sizeable crowds gazing upon the plucky participants. During the game, the participants attempt to climb a greased pole, striving to reach the prize located at the top.
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Image: Patrick Nouhailler, available under Creative Commons