Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Festa La Madonna del Carmine, Mesagne
It's the part of our trip each summer that is bittersweet for me. Sweet because it's time to party because it's mid-July and that means Festa del Carmine time and bitter because that usually means the bulk part of our trip to Puglia is nearly finished. I always go into it smiles and with excitement, and on the 17th, the last day of the festival, I'm pretty sad because it's over and back to reality. For the town and for myself.
This year's festival was different from others because the weather was so out of the ordinary. Rain was in the forecast for all three days and Mother Nature delivered with dark skies, cooler temps and sheets of rain over the town. But when it was time for the Madonna to exit her home at Chiesa Carmine, skies cleared up some and the rain stopped.
So begins her procession down a main street in town, through the Villa and up to the Porta Grande where she is displayed momentarily for speeches and prayers. Good viewing spot to take in her podium as well as the lights by the Villa.
It's our tradition to skip the speeches and prayers and instead make for a favorite pizzeria of ours, Lu Sitili, located right inside the Porta Grande. Here we sit comfortably, eat and await the procession to continue. They will pass by us and finish her journey at Chiesa Madre in Centro Storico. A spectacular church to behold from both outside and inside. Here she will stay for 3 days where townsfolk will visit for mass and prayers.
I'm always impressed that taking her off the rolling cart from which she has been and carried into the church, that she's never fallen. They definitely know what they're doing.
Once she's settled in her temporary home, the party begins for 3 days and 3 nights. Vendors of all sorts, most every kind of food and drink imaginable, music and rides galore. All the best that make for another amazing festival.