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Ndocciata di Agnone
Sunday 11 December 2022 @ 04:00 - 06:00 CET
Ndocciata di Agnone is an event that takes place on 8 and 24 December, consisting of a parade of huge torches (handcrafted silver fir trunks filled with broom), along the course of the city that is lined with locals to create a river of fire!
The roots of the tradition date back to pre-Roman times, to the time of the Samnium, when the Samnites used ‘ndocce (torches) as a source of light during night-time manoeuvres. Locals, particularly shepherds who still used this method of illumination and as a defense against predators decided they could be utilised to illuminate the path to the 14 churches within the different quarters of the city so that townsfolk could attend mass on Christmas Eve.
In the main street, Corso di Agnone, gigantic torches descend on the shoulders of about 800 bearers and are lit with the tolling of the highest bell in the church of Sant’Antonio.
At that point silence falls on the road as the procession starts, preceded by the banners of the various groups representing the neighboring districts and by women and children representing scenes of peasant life … and then the fire. First the children parade with single and small ‘ndocce (compared to the size of the bearer). The bearers are only the men, they also wear peasant life clothes, with large dark shepherd cloaks and proceed in a pre-established order: single torches (the ‘ndocce), then double and then the number to be carried on the shoulder gradually increases up to 20 torches at the back in the shaper of a fan! All together they form the ‘Ndocciata, a river of fire that crosses the city centre, a unique event in the world. At the end of the parade, the ndocce form a single large pyre, called the “bonfire of brotherhood”.
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