In Matera, every year for 630 years, the patronal feast has been celebrated on July 2nd. It is a very important event for the city. After various processions, a richly decorated papier-mâché cart crosses the city. The cart, pulled by mules, escorted by knights in historical costume carries the statue of the Madonna della Bruna in procession.
In the evening, after completing the ”three laps” in Piazza Duomo, symbol of the symbolic taking possession of the city by the Madonna, the cart is attacked by the crowd and destroyed. The crowd tries to take a piece of cart, a papier-mâché statue, a frame, a simple piece of paper, a sign of blessing, a good omen. The cart is also escorted by police in riot gear, to prevent anyone from attacking the cart before it reaches the main square. That’s where the wagon needs to be torn off. And it’s completely destroyed within a minute, a minute and a half. What remains is a bare wooden skeleton ready to be redecorated for the following year’s party. And it is part of the tradition that at the end of the day one says, ‘A mogghj a mogghj all’onn c’ van’, which means ‘Next year we will do even better’. And the tradition is renewed every year.
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