A popular feast
During this ritual which takes place on August 15th, the Icon of Madonna della Madia arrives at the port on a raft in a sunny and more holiday-style atmosphere. This is also the day of Assunta (Lady of Assumption), and there are illuminations, carousels, dried fruit stalls, religious figure artists, tourists and those who come back home to visit their families and the patron saint. This event marks the end of summer and the holidays. Celebrations begin on 31st of July with the opening of the Marian month and the evening vigil waiting for the opening of the portal of the Cathedral and ends on the 31st of August with the thanksgiving mass. On the 13th evening, a copy of the icon of the Madonna is carried in a procession to Piazza Plebiscito. The commemoration of the arrival of the icon of Maria della Madia is held at the harbour on the 14th August with the participation of many people, city authorities and congregations.
The procession of Assunta
Besides the traditional lights of piazza Vittorio Emanuele II and its narrow streets, you will enjoy a spectacular fireworks display and live music. On the morning of the 15thof August, the Madonna is solemnly honoured during the holy mass in the cathedral and her image is carried in an evening procession. The portrait of the patron saint is anticipated by a statue of Assunta, a magnificent silver jewel of sacred art. At the end of the night you cannot miss the fireworks display at the port. This ritual will point out how in 1117 the event affected local identity. On this day, according to popular belief, people shouldn’t go to the beach as a sign of respect for the Virgin, otherwise misfortunes will occur. In the past, after the ceremony of the Madonna, the bourgeoisie of the town moved to their country houses for their summer stay and typical food was prepared such as tomato sauce and products preserved in oil or vinegar. These products were edible up to the following year which meant food for less wealthy families was secure. In the past, as veneration to Madonna della Madia, baby girls were given the name Madia.