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2nd July The Feast of the Bruna

2nd of july: the feast of the BrunaThe Feast for Holy Maria S.S. della Bruna has ancient origins. It was made institutional by pope Urban VI in 1378 and so far it has been celebrated every year on 2nd July.
According to tradition a peasant, on his way back home from the countryside, met a beautiful woman who asked to get onto his chariot because she was tired after a long walking. The peasant accept to help the woman but told her to get off the chariot near the church of Piccianello not to let her be seen by his jealous wife. The woman, before getting off the chariot, gave the peasant a letter praying him to release it to the town Bishop and then suddenly became a statue. Threatened by the event, the peasant left the chariot and ran to the Bishop. In the letter the Madonna was asking to be picked up where she had been left. Once the bishop and the town authorities got to the place, the Madonna was on a splendid triumphal chariot. All the people then took the Madonna and the Chariot to the Cathedral and once arrived in the square they let the chariot make three turns to show the Madonna rule over the town.
This tradition has been passing though generation till nowadays and every 2nd of July Matera is completely blocked to celebrate the most beautiful and picturesque event of the year2nd of july: the feast of the Bruna. Through the years the event has been accompanied by some profane exhibitions thus becoming an unforgettable day for tourists, too.
From all the Italian and foreign towns and cities many people are crowded on the roads of Matera to spend an everlasting day there. The feast starts very early in the morning with the traditional ‘processione dei pastori’ terminating at about 11:00 with the Saint Mass. The feast continues in the first hours of the afternoon with the horse parade and the procession of the triumphal chariot which is doomed to be broken in the city centre in the evening. At about midnight amazing fireworks on the Belvedere close the day.

Shepherds' procession

2nd of july: the processioni dei pastori
It signals the start of the Feast at 5:00 a.m. with the saint Mass. The rite can be dated back to 1600. The crowd leaves the Cathedral square from where the gonfalon of the Madonna della Bruna, escorted by shepherds and by a band, runs on the main road of the town. In this occasion you can find many young people and children because they really love the feast and want to celebrate it from the beginning.
2nd of july: the processioni dei pastoriDown the streets fireworks follow the gonfalon and the crowd usually follows running and screaming to claim the firework makers (“appiciafuc”).
Soon after the Saint Mass, the feast continues with a transfer of the Madonna from the Cathedral to the church of Piccianello, where the statue was found for the first time. The Madonna is tough put on the triumphal chariot made in papier machè, about 10 metres long and representing every year different scenes derived from the New and the Old Testaments.

The chariot procession

2nd of july: the carriot processionThe feast continues with the procession of the chariot escorted by about sixty knights with a tradition uniform. The procession goes through the main road of the town especially illuminated for the event. On the road believers e tourists lean to see the Madonna, clapping their hands to the knights with their sparkling uniforms. The procession culminates in the Cathedral square where the chariot take the famous three turns. 2nd of july: the carriot procession
The one who have already seen the feast know that t is not a culmination but a new start and that from now on excitation increases. In the afternoon the chariot is taken to the central square where an enthusiastic crowd is waiting and a group of young people finally assault and destroy the chariot, trying to bring home statues and cupids to decorate their houses. Any single fragment is jealously kept as a trophy in remembrance of the feast.

The fireworks show

2nd of july: the fireworksThe whole crowd, excited after the chariot assault, walk down into the Sassi where it will be able to watch the fireworks show. Three companies usually follow one another in competing with their fireworks shows. All the people is thus closing the feast looking towards the sky full in colours, sounds and smells in the splendid frame of the Sassi.

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