History of the Festival

History of the Festival

History of the Festival

Opening of the cabinet of Saint Domenica: until a few decades ago, the three keys of the cabinet of Saint Domenica were preserved, respectively, by the Archpriest, by the Mayor and the Vice-Chairman of the Committee Patron Saint.

Legend of the apparition of Santa Domenica. The Scorranese popular sensibility, often nourished by fancy, trendy myth, religiosity, sometimes even fear, is appropriate event of the apparition on the walls of Saint Domenica to liberate the country from the scourge of plague and has made a point of reference for the collective religious imagery. The Saint of Tropea, unknown until then (the year 1600) to Scorranesi, because it was known to them as Ciriaca, during an epidemic of plague that was decimating the population, appears in a dream to an old woman on the city walls, on Porta Terra, and tells her she spontaneously decided to become the protector of Scorrano. As a sign of her benevolence towards Scorranesi, she would free the country from the plague. To the old woman, the Saint asked to communicate this dream to archpriest and, as a testimony of the truthfulness of this Her will, predicted that the patients affected by the disease would be saved and, once healed, would have to make known this extraordinary event to the rest the country, lighting of oil lamps on the windows, as a sign of the healing. In a short time, all the country shone lights on the windows and the plague was eradicated. Since then, every year, during the novena in preparation for the feast of Saint Domenica, the Scorranesi, for gratitude towards their Protector, light some lanterns on windows in remembrance of that miraculous episode (with the advent of the electric light, the lamps were replaced by bulbs).

But there are other legends and tales, become part of Scorranese popular culture. The Home of Santa Domenica, for example, that indicates one of the two ancient towers on the sides of Porta Terra and collapsed today.

Still, the legend of The Foot of Santa Domenica. After the Saint had been proclaimed the main patron of Scorrano, in the country miracles had multiplied, with great satisfaction of devotees. The Magliesi (the residents of Maglie, a nearby city), envious of this, they decided to change protector and asked Scorranesi the statue of Saint Domenica. They agreed; but, on the way from Scorrano Maglie - which in past centuries was reached through the existing old road ‘E Majie’ (old road to Maglie and Botrugno) - the statue of the Saint began to get increasingly heavy and, when it was near the border between the two countries, planted his feet on the ground and did not move again. Then the Magliesi, discouraged, were convinced that Saint did not want to abandon Scorrano and brought back the statue, while Scorranesi, which for a time had shown weakness in attachment to their patron saint, tighten it in the cabinet and not brought out more. After that the route was reversed, all present realized that, on an outcrop of rock outcropping on the road, had been seen the imprint of the Holy foot.

Illness: when a Scorranese was seriously ill, one of the ancient lions, belonging to the statue of Saint Domenica, who expose themselves in the church on altar for the entire novena, was brought into the house of the dying man to intercede with Santa for his healing.

Procession: the traditional route included, in ancient times, the most important streets of the city center placed within the walls. Later, it included the new ways and the most representative places such as, currently, the hospital “I. Veris Delli Ponti “.

Offers: during the procession, the path is often interrupted by the sick or devotees impeded to participate in the religious ritual, who offer publicly to the Saint large sums of money which, until a few years ago, were fixed on ribbons hanging at the statue of Saint and gathered by the President of the Festival Committee as a contribution to the festivities before the statue came into the church. An ancient unwritten rule but known to all and always practiced. The offerings of the faithful, gathered in church at every opening of the shrine of Saint Domenica, belonged to the parish priest, who often devolved them to the Festival Committee. Nowadays, every Sunday, a group of volunteers of the Festival Committee collects (with cassette) offerings, going from “house to house”, for all the town’s streets.

Fires: each part of the route of the procession was highlighted by the firing of firecrackers or by torches offered by families or devotees of the Saint. The pyrotechnics (furgulari) belong to a family Scorranese (Mega), which for centuries has been handed down the craft from father to son.

Illuminations: during the days of the feast, all the country is festooned with lights that are, as always, together with fireworks, one of the peculiarities of this feast. The tradition of the decorations with lights is directly linked with that of the Baroque period, which in Scorrano is documented at least since 1549. However, it should be remembered, next to this, also the tradition of decorating the church interiors with rich fabrics, golden ribbons, bows.