Mattre and bonfire and for St. Joseph

The party of Saint Joseph constitutes an appointment that instills joy and emotion in everyone’s heart sammarzanese. The Albanian-speaking community renews this moment of devotion to the saint, proclaimed patron saint of the community in 1866 when, in the night between 18 and 19 March, a storm hit the town, interpreted as a punishment by the population for abandoning devotion to the saint . Thus the inhabitants thought of paying homage to St. Joseph more solemnly, starting from dawn an uninterrupted shuttle between the countryside and the town carrying with tows, mules, arm, branches, trunks and fagots coming from trees uprooted by the flood, as in a procession devotional. Placed in front of the ancient marquis palace, the large stack was lit in the evening, giving rise to that fascinating “Zjarri i mate” (big fire). The flames rose high throughout the night, visible from neighboring villages. On 7 September the podestà Paolo Cavallo and the municipal administration proclaimed San Giuseppe patron saint of the town and changed its name to San Marzano di San Giuseppe.

Also this year the parish of San Carlo Borromeo, led by Don Cosimo Rodia, and the party committee have defined a rich program. It will begin on Saturday 18 at 10 in Piazza Milite Ignoto with the Holy Mass and the blessing of the bread of San Giuseppe.

At 15 the suggestive will start wood procession with women, men and children, on foot or with horse-drawn carts and tractors carrying olive wood collected in the countryside; upon arrival in the square, liturgy of the Word, blessing of the devotees and wood and delivery of the keys of the city to the saint by the mayor. Then we will continue up to the Principe district (ring road for Francavilla Fontana) for the setting up of the majestic bonfire. Meanwhile at 19.30 there will be the representation of “13 dishes” and of “Holy Family” by the D’Aversa family in via Cairoli 2/B. At about 21.00 the big bonfire will be lit among the fireworks of the company “Itria Fireworks” of Martina Franca.

Sunday 19, day of the feast, at 11 a.m. solemn celebration presided over by the archbishop mons. Filippo Santoro; then, at noon, the statue of the saint will be brought to the square for the blessing of the “mattre” (tables of the poor), laden with traditional peasant dishes. In the afternoon, at 16, the great procession through the streets of the town. Upon return, at 18 Holy Mass. At 20.30, great pyromusical show by the company “Itria Fireworks” of Martina Franca. There will be music in the square: the bands of San Marzano (18), Squinzano (18 and 19) and Castellana Grotte (19) will perform their service. crowning, the illuminations of the Perrotta di Squinzano company (Lecce) and the amusement park. Finally, until Sunday 19, the art collective “Homage to Giorgio Castriota Skanderbeg” will be open at the Palazzo della Cultura, for the 555th anniversary of his death.


The feast is lived above all on the evening before, Saturday 18, with the blessing and the visit at “Tables of St. Joseph”, set up in the houses in a triumph of oil lamps and large images of St. Joseph. These are the locations: Lecce Gaetano (via Toscanini 74), Marino Giuseppe (via Colonna 62), Romolo Pagano (via Piave 26), Delfini Jonici Association (corso Vittorio Emanuele 13), Misericordia confraternity (piazza Matteotti), Pro Loco (corso Vittorio Emanuel 39). These are the dishes on display: cauliflower, catalonia, thistles, “stumpato” wheat (that is, seasoned with oil and salt), the “massa” (homemade tagliatelle), taralli; there is no shortage of devotional bread and sweets, especially zeppole, carteddate sprinkled with honey, “fucazziéddi”, “pizzetti ti cinnamon”, “pasti ti mennula” and the “angioletti” (rhomboid-shaped pastries made with a mixture of milk and flour). Sunday 19, from 18, visit to “Morning after table”of the Abbracciavento family, in viale Gramsci 119, with tasting and lighting of the bonfire.


In Monteiasi Saturday 18 at 19 procession with torches to Piazza Giovanni XXIII for the lighting of the bonfirewith fireworks display. Sunday 19, holy mass at 10.30 celebrated by the preacher, Don Michele Pepe; at 12, procession with blessing of the traditional tables set up on the course by devotees; 6 pm, holy evening mass; 8.30 pm, conclusion with the fireworks of the Maxima Fireworks company of Bitonto (Bari). During the festivities will act i “Medieval Musicians” of Monteiasi (Saturday 18) and the “Verdi” band of Monteiasi conducted by maestro Giuseppe Parabita. On Saturday evening, the “Bonfire and colors” initiative returns, organized by the “Gruppo Anonimo 74” association, with the aim of combining the local tradition of San Giuseppe with culture, i.e. with impromptu drawing performed by pupils from nursery superior. On the occasion of the lighting of the “fòc’ra”, on the evening of Saturday 18, students will be given drawing sheets on which to transfer sensations and emotions graphically (but also thoughts and poems on other supports). Participants will have to independently equip themselves with what is necessary to draw in any pictorial technique, a support to rest the sheet and a small chair. The works will be collected at the end and exhibited in an exhibition that will be set up on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 March, on a site that will be announced on the same occasion. Finally, on Friday 24 March, gifts will be offered to all participants up to high school.


The solemn celebrations in honor of St. Joseph begin on Saturday 18th in Faggiano which will see the blessing (with subsequent tasting) of the “Community tables of St. Joseph” set up by devotees in Piazza Vittorio Veneto at 7.30 pm; to follow, in the frame of the illuminations, a show in the square of the tribute band “Surprise night-Homage to the Pooh”. Sunday 19. holy masses at 8.30-10.30-17; at the end of the latter, at 18, the procession will leave accompanied by the large band ensemble “Città di Crispiano” directed by maestro Francesco Bolognino; at 21, songs in honor of the Patron Saint with the collaboration of maestro Bolognino and the parish choirs; at 10.30 pm, fireworks display by the company Emotion Fireworks of Gioia del Colle. Monday 20, at 18, holy solemn mass presided over by the episcopal vicar for general affairs, mgr. Alexander the Greek; at 19, delivery of the “San Giuseppe nostra custode” prize with musical moment by the violinist Claudia D’Alessandro and at 20, lighting of the bonfire near the stadium, with fireworks.


In Monteparano on Saturday 18, from 5 pm until late at night, visits to the devotional altars in the following sites: via Trento (Town Hall), via Roma 64 (Pro Loco Socio-cultural Center), via Trieste 54 (Uniti per San Giuseppe), via San Nicola 28 (Blasi family), via Spagna 8-Paretone (Lenti family), via Trento 23 (D’Ippolito Domenico family); from 20, in piazza Castello, traditional “Table of the Saints” by the Pro Loco. These are the traditional dishes that will be on display: tagliatelle with mussels (the characteristic “massa” of San Giuseppe), vermicelli with mussels, pasta with honey, rice with mussels, broad bean purée, chickpea and bean soups, fried cod with sauce, “lampascioni” with sauce, salad, oranges, “carteddate” and bread. Sunday 19, at 11.45, resumption of the visit to the devotional altars with the traditional “Tavolata dei Santi” in via Trieste 50 (Uniti per San Giuseppe), via Spagna 8-Paretone (Lenti family). At 17 the procession accompanied by the band will leave “City of Montemesola” directed by m. Beniamino Casavola; on the return, at 19, holy mass of the parish priest don Angelo Pulieri.


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