It takes place from the 16th January - late afternoon and ends on 17th until late at night, with songs, sounds and mystery plays "The Temptation of St. Anthony" staged by friends until the end of January, with playful spirit but without realizing the profound historical and anthropological significance that such rituals may have. In some locations parades of masks are also held, because, as you know, on January 17 also marks the start of the carnival. The feast of St. Anthony, is full of references to social and religious. Anthony is represented in many votive pictures to be surrounded by farm animals, including pigs, always defined by the wealth of the country house: nothing is thrown away and the same bristles are used for making brushes. But who was this Saint Antonio with a long beard that goes down to the chest? Antonio was a hermit born in Egypt in 251 and died in a convent near the Red Sea in 356. We have a biography written by a Monaco of the same Convent, St. Athanasius, St. Anthony in which he appears everything apart from being a protector of domestic animals, considered by the holy hermit to be creatures of the devil.In Western Europe, this reality is completely changed and Anthony becomes a kind of Lord of the animals based on an episode which can be summarized as follows. At the end of the eleventh century the relics of the saint were transferred to France by a noble pilgrim, Gastone brcause of a vow to the miraculous healing of his son. In fact, he organizes in the local Benedictine monastery a hospital community that would accept secular rule and wore a robe on which was sewn letter Tau, the nineteenth of the greek, in sky blue color, symbol of St. Anthony's power. It was built in 1297 when the order of mendicant Antonian, who cited the rule of St. Augustine, later spread throughout Europe.A unique therapeutic specialization of Antonian was to treat gangrenous ergotism, known as "ignis sacer" or shingles, by using the pork fat mixed with some herbs. This terrible disease, "as the devouring fire" was caused by a fungus that was developed in the flour ergot, widely used in the Middle Ages by the rural classes as their daily bread. The wheat or 'white' bread was in fact a sort of dream for the lower classes, and even today, in many countries of the Majella, you say "they let you eat white bread" to indicate that a person is dying. So that rural communities were provided to raise pigs, providing valuable Antoniani the fat with which the monks took care of that disease. Since the medieval period, the so-called swine of St. Anthony were walking around freely, bred to worship communities, although some municipal statutes, for hygienic reasons, expressly forbade it. It 's interesting to note that in some countries Abruzzo still maintain the tradition of buying a pig on January 17 that is fed by the community and guarded at night in a barn or in another suitable place, establishing a symbiosis between the Holy and the pig and the animal shelter becomes a privilege and is considered a special blessing of St. Anthony for the family, the owner of the barn or night shelter. The following year, the pig, well greased, is sold at auction and the proceeds are intended to cover costs incurred by the committee that organizes the festival. But how do you recognize the pig of St. Anthony which has been raised by the community for the whole year? In Abruzzo there is a twofold tradition inherited from ancient rituals Antoniani: a red ribbon is bound to the pig's neck with a hunging bell, or pig's left ear is cut off as a sign of distinction. This is the custom that applies to Ateleta (AQ) and the ritual of cutting the ear, which takes place before the church square on the afternoon of January 17 is attended by the officiating clergy with great competition of the devoted population. Meanwhile, in each ward there are firewood as a large pyre that is turned to the first evening shadows. It 'a blaze of fires, around which everywhere in Abruzzo meets the people cheering. These huge bonfires also have the function to reconnect to the ancient rites of the winter solstice. In some places the fires of St. Antonio are on the eve of the feast, January 16. For the occasion maize is boiled, which takes the value of food as the sacral bakers of St. Antonio. The beans are called mostly garnet or cicerocchi, and sometimes passed through in a pan with oil and chilly are offered devotedly on 17th January to friends and family. Before the spread of maize the ritual was done by cooking the beans, which are considered sacred food par excellence. The tradition continues as it is known in Pollutri, where on January 16 the beans are boiled in large cauldrons and distributed to the devout population and tourists. It becomes a sort of "collective communion" with magic-religious content. It is not entirely vanished in Abruzzo the scenic and traditional blessing of the animals that takes place in the afternoon of 17 January, mostly in front of the churchyard of the parish church or the one dedicated to the same saint. In the prayer recited by the priest in the Roman Ritual is invoked the intercession of St. Antonio Abate: essential to the activity of the peasants in the fields to be saved from all evils, including any mistreatment also to be counted against them. In fact, according to an ancient belief, and not just in Abruzzo, S. Antonio, on the night of January 16, visits all the stalls and asks the animals if they were well treated by their masters. You can taste the wine with charcuterie packaged in January, the month is usually the killing of the pig, and that are sufficiently dried by cold winter temperatures. Cheerful party atmosphere is everywhere and it generally lasts until the early hours of the following day. At homes, however, there is always someone waiting for the young mendicant at the door singing a "song of begging" and performing a sacred called "The Temptation of St. Antonio ".The "actors" key (in addition to the holy hermit who comes up with a very long beard and robe tow) are the so-called "Romiti" (ie hermits) disguised as S. Antonio, the devil (with horns and red robes) and some girls dressed as angels. One of them is usually the "tempter" in female dress.The songs performed by the group begging concern the attempts made by the devil to lead the Santo to sin or to put a strain on the patient. The texts of these songs are from place to place showy 'variants' both in terms of musical texts in dialect. At the end is always S. Antonio to dull and the devil is always defeated. So good triumphs over evil and the victory of the holy devil becomes auspicious for the home with soothing auspices.The landlord pays the group begging with foodstuffs, now mostly replaced by a sum of money.

Created by Andrea Poidomani