Saturday, May 11, 2013

Altari nei vicoli fedele ...

via Fontana, 21
The altari dei vicoli fedele are meticulously crafted devotional 'street' altars created by the women of the Centro Storico; and on via Fontana, in front of my house in particular, are the most elaborate and important in the village.

Nonna Rosina davanti Teresa's tabacchino

   In Italy, in the months of May & June, in the few weeks just following Easter, there are a series of high holy Sundays on the Catholic liturgical calendar: the Ascensione di Nostro Signore, Pentecoste and the season finale, Corpus Domini ... All of which have their high masses and long processions that, in Calitri, walk right by my door on via Fontana.  

Vescovo on via Fontana

    Not by my door as in out on the street and across from my door ... I mean by my door as within an inch of it. 

My house fronts a very narrow passage of via Fontana. The whole procession of pole bearers and crest carriers, priest and his retinue, dozens of men in blue capes of the Confraternita dell'Immacolata, and then the little ladies of the lane chanting their Catholic mantras as they atone for one of the high holy days of the liturgical calendar, will nearly invade my kitchen as they walk by.

Big guy, in front of my door...little ladies above
On Corpus Domini in particular, the outdoor altars of immaculate white bedsheets, hand embroidered lace linens, and vintage heirlooms are arranged along stone walls & between doorways, festooned with fresh flowers, shafts of wheat, candles and single electric bulbs, in honor of the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament. 

'The procession passes. The dogs bark.'

A lapsed Catholic, I knew nothing of any of this until I got here....and it really doesn't end there...By June 1st, the Tredecina di Sant Antonio has already begun.