, The Fanove , Castellana Grotte
11 January of every year
On January 11, the centuries-old event with bonfires . From 315 years, the city of caves remembers the huge piles of wood the miracle of 1691.
Popular devotion is interwoven with folklore .
On the evening of 11 January and throughout the night , 61 bonfire will burn in the corners of the historic center of the town and the countryside outside Castellana . The night of the so-called " fanove " , illuminates and warms the city of caves 315 years.
It was 11 January 1691.
The bubonic plague was advancing in Castellana and in a few weeks there were already the first victims.
Two priests , as they prayed unceasingly that God and the Virgin in the night between 11 and 12 January , simultaneously had an inspiration : the Madonna della Castellana Vetrana would free from the plague. On January 12, the miracle : he saw the plague "walk ahead " ( leave the village ) and many people heal after the application of the miraculous oil lamp.
The miraculous event of the preservation of the population of Castellana 's disease , was attributed votive oil lamp burning before the sacred image of the Virgin venerated in an old church in the vicinity of the Santuario Maria SS . the Vetrana (the term is corruption of " veteran" , just a testimony of a pre-existing ancient cult ) .
To save the community from the terrible scourge , therefore, it was recognized the intercession of Our Lady of Vetrana . The fact is also substantiated by a notarial cards .
To prevent the march of contagion , it set fire to everything that had been in contact with the disease.
The bonfires therefore perform a dual function: to evoke the furniture burned on the occasion of the plague , burn a sign of celebration and rejoicing .
The religious celebrations continue on January 12th with the patronal feast in honor of the Patron Saint Maria SS. the Vetrana .
Linked to the cult of Mary is also the " diana" . A large group of citizens and devotees , accompanied by the town band that performs a slow speed ( called precisely Diana) , performs a few nights prior to 11 January, the " around the mills " to commemorate the oil collecting useful to feed lamp blessed .
The majestic piles of wood are made by individual citizens, associations, groups , committees , organizations ( also participate in a contest : the morning of 11 January, when they are still off, a committee may examine their realization ) .
But that of fanove remains primarily a folk festival . Dozens of meters high , annually attract thousands of tourists. The people crowding the streets sings the Marian hymn You are the people's joy and peace. And around every fanova improvise music and folk dances , while the Castellanese offer to anyone to join them to celebrate, typical peasant goodies : chick peas and roasted beans , bagels , pancakes , wine, bruschetta and friselles strictly seasoned with extra virgin olive oil ' oil and " tomatoes hanging .".