top of page
Indietro

In this first section of Moschiano traditions past and/or still in vogue we list those that go from January 1st (New Year) to the end of May/mid-June (depending on the liturgical calendar).

Many of the traditions listed are obviously not strictly Moschianese (everyone celebrates New Year's Eve), but we want to describe and remember how these  are felt and celebrated in Moschiano.

 

Click on a tradition in the list below to learn more about each one

The Epiphany (La Befana)

Candlemas

San Biagio

40 Hours

The carnival

The Palm Sunday

Holy Monday

Holy Thursday - Last Supper - The Tombs

Good Friday - The morning processions

Good Friday - The three hours of agony

Good Friday - The procession of the dead Jesus

Holy Saturday

Easter

Monday in Albis

The octave of Easter

Mother's Day

Pentecost

The Procession of the Madonna

Whit Monday

The Torch of Faith

  The Epiphany (La Befana)  

It is the feast that traditionally ends the Christmas period by celebrating the manifestation of Jesus to the world, but it is also the children's feast and the first feast of the new year.

Those who are no longer so young will certainly remember that until a few decades ago it was awaited by children perhaps more than Christmas.

The reason was simple: the children received the gifts.

Who doesn't remember the trepidation to see if "the Befana" had come down the chimney, what gifts she had brought and whether or not there was coal in the stocking?

The connection with Christmas and the religious tradition of the Magi who brought gifts to Jesus is obvious.

In Moschiano the Epiphany is celebrated with the procession of the statue of the Child Jesus in a so to speak "reduced" form on the evening of January 6th after the Holy Rosary and the Eucharistic Blessing.

Procession in a smaller form, but no less characteristic, because the statue of Baby Jesus was carried by the parish priest (dressed in the cope) and under the golden processional umbrella escorted by a line of children and teenagers with lit candles.

The procession started from the church in the square going towards the Rione Croce, but only up to the beginning of the "Chiaio" (where today the Tonino barbershop and the "da Tano" bar are located) and then turning back and continuing towards Capomoschiano up to the edge of the then Parish of San Bartolomeo e Corpo di Cristo (just above the Salumeria Mazzocca) delimited by a large stone in the wall of the houses which can still be seen today (see photo).

For a few years now, thanks to the commercialization and globalization of Christmas, the Befana has been slowly replaced by Santa Claus (inspired by the Nordic tradition) and perhaps there will be very few who still await the Befana on the night of January 5th and 6th.

Until 1976 the feast of the Epiphany was also celebrated civilly. In 1977, as part of the restructuring of the civil calendar and the reduction of holidays, aimed at reducing the number of interruptions in the production chain, the government of the time abolished it as a civil holiday only to be reintroduced in 1985 under pressure mainly from traders.   Typical example of how the sacred and the profane often overlap.

Back

 

L'Epifania (La Befana)
La Candelora
/Tradition Part 3

  Candlemas  

Celebrated on February 2nd, this name most commonly indicates the liturgical celebration of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple.

The name derives from the tradition of blessing and distributing small candles to remind the world of Christ "light to enlighten the people".

The popular name probably derives from the Greek and/or Roman tradition of the skylight.

Whatever its origins, in the years spent in Moschiano the celebration was very heartfelt and the candles distributed in the church were kept in every house. They were lit by our grandparents especially in case of bad storms or other emergencies as a request to the Heavenly Father to extend his protective hand over the family

Back

San Biagio

  San Biagio  

On February 3rd we celebrate San Biagio whose perhaps centenary statue can still be admired in the church of the Immaculate Conception down in the Croce district.

The statue of San Biagio is actually a bust of the Holy Bishop made of very light cardboard. Until a few years ago it was carried in procession and an episode from the 70s is still alive in our memories. As the procession sadly headed back towards the church of the Immaculate Conception, just before the barbershop Rega was caught in a sudden downpour. To prevent the statue of the Saint from being damaged, we found refuge in one of the many huge doors ("portoni") that were located along the road at the time. After a few minutes the rain stopped so it was decided to resume the procession. Unfortunately, only a few tens of meters were covered when it started to rain again. At that point we were right in front of the school building and there was no shelter. The young men who carried the statue of the Saint on their shoulders then decided that it would be more appropriate to speed up their pace and find refuge in some house or doorway further down. In reality the procession turned into a race and from afar you could see the Saint literally galloping down the street towards his church.

The effect was perhaps a little comical, but the result was certainly the desired one. The statue of the Saint was safe.

After the somewhat amusing anecdote above, we would like to recall instead a true Moschianese tradition made famous perhaps by some typical people of the town.

As we know, San Biagio was a doctor who became bishop and martyr killed in 319 AD. He is venerated by both Catholics and Orthodox Christians. He is known as a throat protector (or ENT doctor in general). Almost everywhere on the occasion of his feast the priests after the Holy Masses bless the throats of the faithful.

This tradition was also alive in Moschiano and until a few years ago this happened particularly on the evening of February 3rd after the recitation of the SS Rosary and the Eucharistic blessing. What was peculiar about the blessing of the throats in Moschiano was that it was not done with the imposition of two crossed candles as happened and happens in other churches but with the priest blessing (and anointing) the throats of the faithful with a feather soaked in oil (strictly Moschianese olive oil).

For those who couldn't go to church, relatives or friends took care of it in a very simple and ingenious way.

Once the person approached the priest for the blessing he was asked to dip ("dunk" literally) a wad of cloth (the so-called "pupacella") in the holy oil so that he could take it home and bless the throats of those who did not they had been able to participate in the ceremony in church.

Back

San Biagio

San Biagio

Carnevale
Carnevale 1

Carnevale 1

Carnevale 2

Carnevale 2

1980 Carnevale

1980 Carnevale

1980 carnevale 2

1980 carnevale 2

Carnevale 3

Carnevale 3

Domenica delle Palme

Carnival  (Mardi Grass) 

There are not many certainties or documents regarding the celebration of the carnival in Moschiano in the first half of the last century or even before. Stories handed down to us by our grandparents speak of a "Cantata della Zeza" but we don't know more about it. However, we certainly know that during the years between 1950 and the second half of the 1960s the youngster organized various events in the streets of Moschiano such as the "Intreccio del Palo" and the "Cantata della Zeza". The children, on the other hand, dressed in sheets and covered their faces with cardboard masks depicting the various heroes of the time often seen on the few televisions and in the evening, in groups, they went from house to house beating the ground with sticks.

For a few years then this custom stopped. It was revived in the mid-1970s by a group of young people who organized themselves into what was then the ancestor of the Pro Loco. In fact, in 1976 a "Carnival Funeral" was organized through the streets of the town, carrying the "Dead Carnival" in procession on a float complete with people in costume who preceded and followed the float and cried amidst everyone's hilarity. From then on, although not continuously, there have been various events as well as masked parties in private homes or organized by various groups. 

In recent decades the Pro Loco and other organizations have given life to various festivities including elaborate costume parades and allegorical floats through the streets of Moschiano.

A note to mention how on the day of Lent (Ash Wednesday) in some alleys of Moschiano it was customary to hang a mannequin dressed in rags depicting "Lent" between two balconies. Especially noteworthy is the one curated by the Pacia family near Vicolo San Rocco.

Back

Palm Sunday  

Palm Sunday begins the cycle of Holy Week and its celebrations which are deeply felt by the inhabitants of Moschiano and Vallo di Lauro.

Already from the evening before Palm Sunday in almost all families the Palms were "Weaved" which would then be taken to church to be blessed. The action consisted of cutting olive leaves from several twigs (naturally the most beautiful) into pairs and then weaving them tightly around another twig up to 30-40 cm long. In the years between 1950 and 2000 it was also necessary for the girls of Catholic Action to select the largest and most beautiful olive leaves, immerse them in a silver or golden dye and then offer them to those who came in church for the Holy Mass.

The boys of the town, instead of carrying simple palm trees, procured real olive branches often up to 2 meters high (the "frasconi") and crowded together in the square before the Holy Mass ready to huddle with these olive branches in front at the door of the church when the parish priest arrived for the blessing. Once back home the various branches were taken to the fields and attached to some tree so that the blessing would almost extend to the entire field and the crop that was sprouting.

Starting in 1973 from an idea of the then parish priest Don Salvatore Pierro, the young people of the parish in the square (then called San Bartolomeo e Corpo di Cristo) decided on this day to hold a Via Crucis through the streets of Moschiano. The procession, with the simple Cross, started from the church in the square and followed the route of the other processions along via D'Avidaia (as it was then called). The meditations for each Station of the Cross were prepared by the young people and read by various people from the balconies of the homes. This practice then evolved over time with more elaborate re-enactments, often in costume and extending to other streets of the town, adapting to the different social, cultural and topographical reality. 

Back

Palme

Palme

Palme 2

Palme 2

Palma

Palma

Lunedi Santo

  Holy Monday  

Many will wonder what is special about Holy Monday in Moschiano to be included among the "traditions" to remember. 

Well now it is no longer done but until the 1970s, Holy Monday was the day in which adult men carried out processions through Moschiano dressed in the alb of the congregations and with a crown of thorns on their heads, singing the verses of the songs that then they were performed in the Good Friday processions. Let's say a kind of "dress rehearsal" except that at the end of the rehearsal everyone went to church for confessions and the "Paschal precept of men". This is also the day in which the "commission of the Madonna della Carita" distributes the cheese and pasta for the "pastiera" of Holy Saturday. 

This is another of the typical Moschiano traditions. This is a way to raise funds for the festivities that will be held at the Sanctuary of Monday in Albis and for other celebrations. The funds raised will also be used during the year for the maintenance of the Sanctuary itself. It all begins on Ash Wednesday. Representatives of the commission go from house to house to ask each family to make a promise ("subscription) to donate money for the Madonna during Lent. On return they will have some cheese and pasta for the pastiera on Holy Saturday based on how much they contributed over the forty days that separate Ash Wednesday from Easter. Once the promise has been made, committee members will go to each house every Sunday to collect funds. Once upon a time, everything was documented in a book whose pages were each made up of many sequentially numbered squares, each representing a certain sum of 50 or 100 lire which were detached based on how much one had contributed that day. The detached squares were left to the families almost as a form of receipt while those remaining in the booklet were the "balance sheet". Thus we had, "real time" we would say today, the summary of the situation of how much each family had contributed, and how much cheese and pasta they were entitled to. A practical, simple and effective way to combine offers, faith and accounting.

Another tradition (but this was widespread throughout Italy) is that of the blessing of houses. As early as the beginning of Lent, the parish priest, with the help of some altar boys carrying the aspergillum, begins to visit all the houses in the town to impart the Easter blessing. This was also an opportunity for the parish priest to perhaps meet some parishioners who were not so frequent in church. It was once customary to donate eggs, cheese or pasta to him after the ritual. In the 70s the parish priest left a palm tree or an olive branch and a souvenir with a prayer in a transparent plastic bag. The palm would have been blessed on Palm Sunday and then hung on the wall of a room.

Back

Giovedi Santo

  Holy Thursday - Last Supper - The Tombs  

The Easter Triduum in Moschiano begins as in all Christian Parishes with the celebration of the Holy Mass "In Coena Domini", with the washing of the feet and the repositioning of the Blessed Sacrament in the "Sepulchre".

Let's go in order. The celebration of the Holy Mass on Maundy Thursday in past years had something special. The church was always crowded but something different could be seen in front of the altar. A table with twelve seats was prepared there. At each place there was a donut of bread (the so-called "tortano"), some fennel and a piece of paper with a fish inside (usually a sea bream). Furthermore, there was an empty glass for each place but the bottle with red wine was in the center of the table. At the foot of the table a jug with water, a basin with cut pieces of lemon, some tablecloths and then a large basket with many small pieces of bread.

In the front row there are 12 elderly men all dressed in white coats to represent the "Apostles".

Before the Holy Mass the parish priest went to the tabernacle and distributed Holy Communion to these twelve people. Then we proceeded with the Mass as always until the moment of the washing of the feet. The celebrant removed the chasuble, wrapped himself in a tablecloth and, aided by the altar boys, went on to wash the feet one at a time of the twelve men in the front row. When everything was finished he stepped aside and washed his hands with soap and water and then disinfected them with cut lemon (until a few years ago there were no liquid disinfectants).

Once the washing of the feet was finished, we proceeded with the "Communion of the Apostles". The celebrant approached the basket with the cut bread and distributed a piece to each of the 12 men, inviting them to eat it, after which he poured some wine into the glasses and offered it to them, inviting them to drink. The symbolism and memory of the Last Supper is clear.

Once the Mass was over, it was time to reposition the Blessed Sacrament in the Sepulchre. This was usually arranged with an abundance of flowers and candles in one of the side chapels. In ancient times when the flower trade was very limited, the decoration was done with terracotta vases offered by parishioners in which wheat had been planted in the previous months and allowed to germinate in the dark. As the grain came out it was colored green, yellow and white. People then braided it in different ways before taking it to church to embellish the tomb.

When this function was over, a sign was made to the people who had attended the sacred function who could approach the altar where some people (often members of the celebration committee) distributed pieces of bread to everyone. Many asked for a few more pieces to bring to those who were unable to come to the function.

Then everyone passed by and perhaps we went to the other churches of Moschiano or Vallo to "visit the Sepulchres".

Back

Sepolco Capomoschiano anni '70

Sepolco Capomoschiano anni '70

Sepolcro Parrocchia Incoronata - Anni 70

Sepolcro Parrocchia Incoronata - Anni 70

Venerdi Santo 1

 Good Friday - The morning processions 

The morning processions of Good Friday probably hark back to a thousand-year-old tradition in Moschiano as in Vallo and throughout Italy, perhaps dating back to the sacred representations of the past. 

Starting from the 1980s, the presence of figures with period costumes representing Roman soldiers, matrons, governesses, etc. with costumes worthy of Cinecitta as well as the presence of a person representing Jesus were added to the drapery, torches and other ancient artefacts. with the cross. Even if everything has more of the flavor of a film set than a sacred representation, it still contributes to the maintenance of one of the most beautiful local traditions. An important role is played by the singers dressed in white coats and with crowns of thorns on their heads who sing verses which perhaps were once different and harked back to the Stabat Mater of the 13th century but nowadays are taken from ...

In Moschiano the procession leaves early in the morning from Capomoschiano and winds through the main street of Moschiano and then continues (by car) to Lauro and the nearby towns. His approach is perceived by the rhythmic beating of the drums of the Roman soldier figures who precede him. From time to time the procession stops and the singers sing a verse of the hymns. Stopping at the various churches along the route is a must.

Mention the participants, the order and verses of the choirs as well as information on the cloths that are carried around

Back

Venerdi Santo

Venerdi Santo

IMG_4425

IMG_4425

IMG_20201123_0004

IMG_20201123_0004

IMG_20201123_0002

IMG_20201123_0002

IMG_20201123_0001

IMG_20201123_0001

venerdi' Santo 5

venerdi' Santo 5

Venerdi Santo 2

 Good Friday - The three hours of agony 

We believe the three hours of agony is a purely Moschianese tradition. At least we are not aware of a similar ritual in the other towns of Vallo di Lauro or the Nolan countryside.

It consists of the re-enactment and meditation of Jesus' last sentences on the Cross before dying (the so-called "7 Words"). Let's go through the event description in order.

By ancient tradition, since the times when there were 2 parishes in Moschiano, Good Friday celebrations took place in the church in the main square.

We began to prepare the altar in the church early in the morning of Good Friday (and often also on the evening of Holy Thursday after the repositioning of Jesus in the Sepulchre).

The main altar was cleared of flowers and a long black cloth was spread that covered the entire marble altar up to well above the candlesticks.

In the center, right above the tabernacle, a cube of about one meter was placed on which the cross with the Jesus (life-size) was fixed, which was normally kept in the glass case under the first altar on the right as you enter the church. The characteristic of this Jesus is that he had (and has) arms that could be extended along the body or allowed him to be hung from the cross.

To His right and to His left, the figures painted on paper (also life-size) of two people on the cross representing the two thieves were fixed on the cloth.

At the foot of the Cross, on the steps of the altar, the statues of Saint John and Our Lady of Sorrows were placed.

Until the 1970s, in the space that goes from the first chapel on the left near the main altar up to the balustrade, in place of the pews for people, a decorated stage was mounted which served to host a small symphony orchestra. Later the stage was dispensed with and the orchestra with the singers were at the level of the people, and then moved to the choir loft at the end of the church above the "drum".

Around 2.30 - 3 in the afternoon the parish priest began the religious services with the so-called "dry mass". It was nothing else what in jargon is called "the Adoration of the Cross" and the distribution of the Eucharist.

As soon as this function was over, the flowers and candlesticks that had been used for the Sepulcher were set aside on one side and replaced with benches to allow the agent to participate in the following function: "The three hours of agony".

Around 4 o'clock we started. On the pulpit on the right there was a preacher. Usually a Capuchin friar from the nearby convent of San Giovanni in Palco in Taurano. The most popular and sought after was Father Beniamino. His homilies were nothing short of "epic".

The Preacher Father began with an introductory reflection and then continued with 7 others, each describing and meditating on Jesus' last sentences:

- Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do

- Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise

- Woman, here is your Son. Son, here is your Mother

- My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

- I am thirsty

- Everything is done

- Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.

Between one meditation and another the orchestra performed a short piece of classical music. On average everything lasted about an hour and a half or a little more.

It may seem strange but there were a lot of people in church.

While all this was happening on the altar and behind the cloth there was a lot of movement. The people of the "Dead Jesus Commission" were all busy preparing "the Cradle". It was a wooden surface (like a cot) covered with white cloths and decorated with flowers on which Jesus would be placed. It obviously had feet but also had lateral extensions (6) to allow it to be held for the procession 

The steps of the altar, however, were becoming populated with children dressed as "angels" complete with blue and gold tunics, armor, helmets and wings or with little girls dressed in white (the "virginelle").

Having finished the last passage after the seventh "word", the preacher father held the final meditation which ended with the "unbolting". The Parish Priest went up to the height of the cross and at the incipit of the preacher began to remove the nails from the feet and hands of the Crucifix. This not after having wrapped a white sheet around the torso and under the arms of Jesus to allow him to lower him from the Cross and place him in the specially prepared "cradle".

Back

3 ore agonia 5

3 ore agonia 5

3 ore agonia 1

3 ore agonia 1

3 ore agonia 11

3 ore agonia 11

3 ore agonia 10

3 ore agonia 10

IMG_5327

IMG_5327

3 ore agonia 2

3 ore agonia 2

Venerdi Santo 3

 Good Friday - The procession of the dead Jesus 

Once the "Three hours of agony" was over with the last meditation, the unbolting and the placing of Jesus in the "cradle" we prepared for the Good Friday procession.

This is a very heartfelt procession in Moschiano (as in the whole world). The crowd, already numerous in the church to listen to the words of the Father Preacher, swells and crowds disproportionately in the square awaiting for the procession. Everyone is dressed almost elegantly, festively we would dare say. The men with suits and ties, the women with their "good" Sunday clothes. The kids the same.

The procession, however, is not typical of festivals. There are no “covens”  before the statue, there is no musical band after it. Instead of children and young people from the "Azione CAttolica" or other associations, the procession is opened by the "verginelle" (little girls dressed in white) accompanied by volunteers and catechists all behind a U-shaped golden hemp cord to ensure that they disperse. Following is the Cross with the altar boys arranged in order in two parallel rows on the sides of the road with the Parish Priest dressed only in the black cassock. Behind them the "little angels". The children dressed as angels almost form a square around the body of Jesus lying in the cradle, also behind a hemp cord accompanied by catechists.

Finally the statue of Jesus, detached from the Cross and lying on that white bed which is gradually covered with flowers thrown by people along the path. It almost seems like he's sleeping. The cradle is carried by hand by 6 people who, from time to time, give up their place to others (often family or friends) but only for a short time. Once upon a time there was a competition and money was offered for the privilege of being able to carry the cradle of Jesus. Often an auction was held to see who offered the most and the money offered would be used to pay the expenses for the ceremonies.

The procession continues so sadly throughout the town, first down towards the "Rione Croce" then up the same road towards Capomoschiano and then returning to the square after about an hour.

Once you arrived back in the square you didn't immediately enter the church. Jesus lay in the middle of the square with people all around. After expecting everyone to have arrived and after a minute of silence the Father Preacher began with his final reflection from a balcony of a house in front of the Church. All in an almost surreal atmosphere with the square once illuminated by the few lamps that were there and perhaps by a few candles with people intent on listening and  tired children who were looking for their mothers to go home.

When the last words had resonated in the square from the balcony, Jesus was brought back to the church and placed in front of the altar facing the people who then began to crowd in to kiss him and take as relics some of the flowers that now covered the cradle. in its totality. Often in the general buzz that followed we elbowed our way to get the flowers or perhaps just the best petals.

The great memory of the Passion and death of Jesus ended like this but the Church remained open to give everyone the opportunity to make another visit. The street then came alive and was swarming with people until late waiting for the Easter of Resurrection. But in Moschiano before Resurrection Sunday there was and still is the tradition of celebrating Holy Saturday like nowhere else.

Back

Processione venerdi santo 3

Processione venerdi santo 3

IMG_20201123_0003

IMG_20201123_0003

IMG_20201123_0008

IMG_20201123_0008

Processione venerdi Santo 2

Processione venerdi Santo 2

Processione Venerdi Santo 1

Processione Venerdi Santo 1

Predica in Piazza

Predica in Piazza

Venerdi Santo 2 inizio anni 70

Venerdi Santo 2 inizio anni 70

Venerdi Santo 1 Inizio anni 70

Venerdi Santo 1 Inizio anni 70

Venerdi Santo 3 Inizio anni 70

Venerdi Santo 3 Inizio anni 70

Venerdi Santo 4 Inizio anni 70

Venerdi Santo 4 Inizio anni 70

Sabato Santo

 Holy Saturday 

Holy Saturday in Moschiano is synonymous with "pastiera". Not the typical Neapolitan dessert, that too (but they are already prepared on Holy Thursday), but what others define as "pasta omelette". With us it is more, but much more, than a simple "omelette".

Meanwhile in church in the morning there is a lot to do to prepare for the Easter Vigil. It is necessary to remove the black veil that covered the altar for the "Three hours of agony", put back to their place the statues of Jesus, Saint John and the Madonna that had been carried in procession the day before, clean the floor from top to bottom of the remnants left by the great coming and going of the procession the day before, decorate the altar with flowers for the great celebration of the Resurrection.

At the same time, in the homes, wood-fired ovens and circular pans ("ruoti") are being prepared with pasta seasoned with lard, eggs, pepper, and lots and lots of pecorino cheese. Those who don't have an oven behind their home ask neighbors and family members to join them in cooking food.

The pastiera is prepared using mainly and rigorously long pasta, preferably "Mezzanelli" but, in its absence,  the “Queens” or the “Bucatini”. Many families use the pasta that was distributed starting on Holy Monday by the "Commission of the Madonna della Carita". 

When the oven is ready (and only our mothers and grandmothers knew when the oven was ready simply by looking at the color of the bricks inside) The various pans are "baked" with care and by expert hands until their cooking is judged once again. “by eye” (with the typical crust of the pastry burnt on the surface). Around 2 or 3 in the afternoon we all sit at the table to taste them with usually "abundant" portions. After the pastiera it is the turn of the traditional "sopressata paesana" (local salami) once made by the family in January and February using meat from pigs raised behind the house. It seems like you can still smell the scent of both and see the yellow, orange, almost ocher colors of the pastiera and red with patches of white (the fat) and black (the pepper granules) that stand out from the red and compact meat of the sopressata. All accompanied with a fresh lettuce or escarole salad and a good glass of red wine. Local and family production of course. Please note that you are not limited to making just one or two pastiere. No. Each family prepares for at least double the number of people they expect for lunch. Those that remain will be used for the pilgrimage to the Santuary on Monday in Albis and for the traditional picnic in the chestnut groves of Cerreto, Pizzone or Serra.

Back

Pastiera preparazine 1

Pastiera preparazine 1

Pastiera preparazione 2

Pastiera preparazione 2

Pastiere 1

Pastiere 1

Pastiere 2

Pastiere 2

Sopressata

Sopressata

Pastiere 3

Pastiere 3

pastiere grano 3

pastiere grano 3

Pastiere grano 2

Pastiere grano 2

IMG_0596

IMG_0596

Pasqua

Easter  

Once upon a time we waited until midnight for Easter Mass. Not anymore and usually the service, full of symbolism, begins around 9 pm and sometimes even earlier (Catholic ritual dictates that it is after sunset).

In the square (as once in Capomoschiano) in the church's entrance the brazier is ready with some dry twigs. On the table the candle, around the parish priest, the altar boys with the empty but ready thurible, the people. In the square there are latecomers running so as not to miss the ceremony or people approaching who have spent the evening playing cards at the bar. The church is completely dark. You hear a few voices or the sound of a car engine roaring from afar. The fire is lit amid general silence. He is blessed. The candle symbolizing Christ, the true light of the world, is lit. The parish priest draws signs on it, a cross, Alpha and Omega, the first and last letter of the Greek alphabet to indicate that Christ is the beginning and end of all things. The digits of the current year to indicate that Jesus is alive today and finally inserts five grains of incense at the ends and in the center of the cross which is printed on the candle to remember the wounds of Christ.

Then we proceed with the procession from the church door to the altar. Every now and then the Celebrant stops and proclaims: "The light of Christ" and the small candles that had been distributed to the faithful before the ceremony begin to light up just like the lights in the church. A wave of light propagates in the building and symbolically in the world.

The celebration continues with readings from the New and Old Testament and with the proclamation of the Gloria accompanied by the ringing of the bells and the tinkling of the bells present in the church.

The Mass then continues but at the end, after the parish priest has retired to the sacristy, we witness a coming and going of people entering through the sacristy door that leads to the church and exiting through the door that leads to the parish office ( once called "sede" to indicate the headquarters of Catholic Action) to wish the Parish Priest a Happy Easter. Everyone in the square exchanged greetings before returning home.
On Sunday morning there is a festive air around. The words “Best Wishes” or "Happy Easter" bounce from mouth to mouth incessantly. Masses are busier than usual, as are the bars before and after. We stop with friends for a game of cards, an aperitif and, if the anniversary is in April, with good weather, maybe even for a first ice cream at "Minuccio".  

Back

Lunedi in Albis

  Monday in Albis  

Before Monday in Albis was the day of the "out of town trip" in Rome, it was the day of the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Charity in Moschiano. Together with the Monday after "Octave of Easter", Pentecost Monday and June 14th, it has for centuries been one of the four days on which, by tradition, the people of Moschiano, but not only, go to the Sanctuary. Prof Pasquale Moschiano in his book "The Sanctuary of the Madonna della Carita'" Published  Istituto Anselmi Marigliano of 1972, to which we refer, provides a more detailed description of the history and its folkloristic aspect. He also reconstructs the history of Moschiano and the Sanctuary and describes in an exhaustive manner facts, stories, places, events and characters. We do not want to dirty with our words what was so wonderfully described by the professor. Moschiano.

Instead, we simply want to observe that if there is a tradition to remember in Moschiano, this one of Monday in Albis is the mother of all and how for centuries the people of Moschiano, in a mixture of tradition, faith, culture, participation and volunteering, have made immortal. It is no coincidence that the mission of our Pro Loco is based on the virtue of tradition handed down to us by our ancestors and to which we are grateful.

Back

Messa solenne

Messa solenne

Processione santissimo - Anni '60

Processione santissimo - Anni '60

foto 2_jpg

foto 2_jpg

foto 5_jpg

foto 5_jpg

foto 6_jpg

foto 6_jpg

foto 10_jpg

foto 10_jpg

foto 3_jpg

foto 3_jpg

Ottava

  Octave of Easter  

This is a bit like the "forgotten feast" of Moschiano and of Sanctuary of Charity. We do not know the origins and reasons for this second pilgrimage to Carita 7 days after the one on Monday in Albis. Maybe it was once very popular. Certainly over time it has lost its luster and in recent years some Masses are still celebrated up at the Sanctuary but the people who wait there are very few. However, this does not mean we should forget this beautiful tradition or let it decay.

Back

Festa della mamma
Festa della mamma 1969

Festa della mamma 1969

1969 Festa della mamma

1969 Festa della mamma

IMG_3684

IMG_3684

  Mother's Day  

Towards the end of the 1960s, with the arrival of a nun from the convent of the Daughters of Charity in Lauro (Sister Pia Cimetta) in the parishes, Mother's Day began to be celebrated in Moschiano, especially in the Parish in Piazza.

This was a way to welcome the little ones and keep them busy and at the same time give them a Christian education.

The parties consisted of small plays, songs and sometimes dance recitals prepared by the dance teacher Maria Luisa Bossone and were often held in the school building but sometimes also in the parish or in the square in front of the rectory.

Needless to say, this was a very popular celebration for both children and mothers who came in large numbers and often threw flowers at their little ones during the performances.

Back

Pentecoste

   Pentecost  

Pentecost is known to be the Christian holiday which is celebrated 50 days after Easter to remember the descent of the Holy Spirit. In our country it is also known in ancient times as Pasca Rosata (Easter of the Roses), a name perhaps given for the ancient custom held in the church in the square before the Holy Mass at 11am when the parish priest throws rose petals and confetti (" cannellini”) to the people who are in church for the function almost as if it were a blessing.

The gesture, certainly symbolic, perhaps refers to the tradition according to which the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles like "tongues of fire" and recalls what is done in Rome at the Pantheon when on the same occasion the firefighters let down petals of roses from the ceiling..

For a few decades now, Pentecost has also officially become the Patronal Feast of Moschiano because it is closely linked to the cult of the Madonna della Carita and the pilgrimage that takes place at the Sanctuary on Pentecost Monday.

To celebrate this occasion, a procession takes place in Moschiano with the wooden statue of the Madonna della Carita by Gaspare Dalia which has been located in the church in the square since 1989. 

We remember that prior to 1989 the only statue of the Madonna della Carita was the one at the Sanctuary which, as is well known, is fixed and is not even the original given that the original wooden one burned on 15 April 1928 due to lit candles left too close to it. 

In the parish instead (as well as in the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Cross) instead of the statue there was a painting with the effigy of the Madonna. It was placed on the left side looking at the altar before the balustrades (they are also no longer present), while on the right there was a painting of the Madonna of Pompeii.

Down at the church of Immaculate, however, the painting is still present in a side chapel all to itself to the left of the main altar.

It was the painting found in the church of the Body of Christ which was carried in procession on the day of Pentecost and which was later replaced by the carved wooden statue.

With the introduction of the use of the wooden statue and with the changing times (we would say) the tradition of "dressing" the Madonna in gold also changed. This no longer happened with the statue at the Sanctuary on Monday in Albis or on Pentecost, but instead happened with the procession with the wooden statue in the parish for the Patronal feast on Pentecost Monday and on the day of the feast in August.

In the 1980s all the donated gold was transferred from the fabric supports on which it had been sewn for years and which had been adapted for the Statue at the Sanctuary onto a new cloak-shaped cloth that could be more easily placed on the shoulders of the new statue in the parish. Since the new statue had already been inlaid with a crown on the heads of the Madonna and Child Jesus, the gold crown was not placed on their heads, being used only for (rare) occasions at the Sanctuary.

Back

Processione

   The Procession  

 

The procession of the statue (or of the painting in past times) of the Madonna della Carita' therefore takes place on Pentecposte Sunday and like all the "great processions" of Moschiano it once had a very particular structure and organization.

First of all there was the Solemn Mass (once called "sung mass")  at 11. It usually also includes the "panegyric", that is, a homily given by a special "Preacher" often called from other parishes or convents with undoubted oratorical skills and which was once much followed and desired by the people. In the 70s the girls of the parish choir settled on the altar on the left. Subsequently the choir moved to the first benches always on the left side and then moved to the space reserved for the organ above the "drum" at the entrance.

Towards the middle of the function, ladies began to enter the church with baskets and placed them on the last side altars near the "drum",  They contained the "capes" of the members of the two confraternities, that of the Immaculate Confraternity, which was blue in colour, and that of the Rosary is black. That of the Immaculate Conception on the left side upon entering (the altar of the Madonna del Carmine)  while that of the Rosary on the right side (the Altar of the Dead Jesus).

Towards the end of the mass the brothers began to dress in a white coat, girdle and cape or a simple stole depending on their "rank" in the congregation.

Once the mass was over we prepared for the procession which followed a very specific order. The traffic policeman leads the way (nowadays, in addition to the single traffic policeman who precedes the procession, there is a vehicle that takes care of closing the streets and blocking traffic at the road intersections where the procession will gradually pass). Opening the procession were the children of Catholic Action arranged in order of age in a double row on the sides of the road. The first two, three were held by the hand of the catechists. Behind them are the older ones up to the teenagers. In the middle a young girl carried the flag of the Association. Continuing there were, always in two rows on the sides of the road, the adults with their flag in the middle.

Then came the congregations. Depending on whether the procession was for a Saint in the Square/Croce or Capomoschiano, it was decided who would go first. They followed a similar order. A member who carried the banner opened. A wooden cross on whose back was pinned an embroidered pentagon-shaped cloth almost to cover it. On the sides two boys wearing only a stole with a medallion with the image of the Immaculate Conception or Our Lady of the Rosary depending on the Congregation hanging from the shoulders and crossing over the chest.

This is how the so-called "simple" brothers who followed the Cross were also "dressed". Also arranged in two rows.

A little further back  there was a brother who carried another banner, this one in the shape of a sail with an image of the Madonna fixed to a pole 5-6 meters high with a tuft on the top. During the journey the banner was held wide by two simple brothers (two boys) with tracks that ran from top to base, each on the sides of the road.

This banner (perhaps a symbol of authority, almost like a flag) had a very specific prerogative. It could only be carried in procession if it was the procession of the Blessed Sacrament, of the Patron Saint or if it was the procession of the Saint after whom the Congregation was named.

Another peculiarity was that when the Statue of the Madonna or the Saint crossed paths with the banner (as when one had to go back along the same road), then the bearer of the banner paid homage to the Statue by lowering it 3 times in front of it. A bit like in civil ceremonies the flag of a nation is lowered when the head of that nation passes in front of it. A sign of respect and recognized authority.

Behind the simple brothers came the adult members of the brotherhood. They were dressed in a white coat, a cape and a white cap which, however, did not cover the face but, once placed on the head, was pulled back like a "scarf" so as to show the face. .

To divide the simple brothers from the others there was between the two rows a gentleman also with a white coat and a hood but instead of a hood he had a "stole" across (like a Deacon) and in his hand he had a staff. He was the  master of ceremonies (master of ceremonies).

Closing the congregation was the "Prior" in the center, also recognizable by the 4 friezes he had along the edges of the hood, the vice-Prior (with 3 friezes) and the Secretary/cashier with two friezes.

The disposition of the members of the two congregations was similar.

Once the congregations were over, the procession continued with those carrying votive candles. Often barefoot, usually women, but sometimes also men. These were people who had received a particular grace from the Madonna or the Saint and carrying a candle in front of her statue during the procession was an act of gratitude. Starting from the 1980s when the so-called "Medaglione" group was formed (a religious association for the cult of the Madonna della Carita) its members position themselves in the procession before the group with the votive candles. The members of this group wear a stole from which dangles a medallion (hence the name) with the image of the Madonna della Carita'.

After the people with the candles there are the altar boys preceded by a cross. At the end of the row of altar boys there is one of them in the center with the thurible if it is the procession of the Blessed Sacrament. Behind, right in front of the statue, the parish priest and the other priests if present.

The statue is carried on the shoulders of four people, two forwards and two backwards, who support a wooden platform ('a paragna") which often varies and on which it is fixed. Some of them are very ancient, all inlaid and gilded. From time to time these people take turns with four others. In the case of the Statue of Our Lady of Charity, as it is very heavy, there are six bearers. Around the statue there are generally other people to relieve the bearers or with boxes to collect any offerings from the faithful along the route.

Until about ten years ago there was also the custom of carrying a cloth ('o' pannetto") right next to the statue on which people had their offerings posted. This tradition was rightly killed so as not to give too much "material" meaning to the procession. Sometimes, however, you still bring a box where you can donate money.

On more solemn occasions there are also the Carabinieri at the sides of the Statue. Once upon a time on the occasion of the Patronal feast they dressed in the "Grand Uniform".

Behind the statue there are the authorities: the mayor, the council, the city councilors, military authorities.

Behind them the musical band (or bands) and then the people who often sang songs between one piece and another of the band.

Back

Fede 2

Fede 2

IMG_1555

IMG_1555

IMG_1546

IMG_1546

Lunedi Pentecoste

 Pentecost Monday

In not so ancient times (until the 1970s) Pentecost Monday was known in Moschiano not so much as the patronal feast but as the day dedicated to the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary by the inhabitants of Monteforte Irpino. In the past there has always been a strong synergy between the inhabitants of Moschiano and those of Monterforte who, even if divided topographically by Mount Pizzone, have always been united from an economic point of view (both have an economy based on agriculture and in past sheep-farming), administrative (both are part of the Province of Avellino) and often blood relatives (in the past many inhabitants of the two villages were united in marriage). Even if there is no direct communication route between the two municipalities, in the past there were many sheep tracks that connected them via the pass that straddles Monte Pizzone and Monte Serra. Since the end of the 70s, with the extension of the road that leads from Moschiano to Carita, there has also been an asphalted road up to Mount Pizzone where a large antenna has been installed which acts as a radio link for communications for some public and private organizations.

As we said, in the past years, there were many shepherds from Moschiano and Monteforte who took their flocks to graze on this side and beyond the mountain. This contributed to the spread of the cult of the Madonna della Carita beyond Moschiano, in the valley of Monteforte, Mercogliano and Avellino.

For many years, therefore, Pentecost Monday was known as the traditional day for the pilgrimage to the Charity of the inhabitants of Monteforte Irpino without, however, setting aside the tradition of the Moschianesi.

Since the 1970s, with the stabilization year after year of the practice of proclaiming Pentecost as the Patronal Feast in Moschiano, the pilgrimage to Charity of the people of Moschiano has become increasingly consolidated. Prof Pasquale Moschiano mentions the birth of this tradition in his book "The Sanctuary of Charity" (p 86 et seq.) hypothesizing that it has origins prior to the coronation of the Madonna in 1886. In 1975 the first Torchlight was also held on this day of Faith.

Nowadays in terms of tradition and attendance at the Sanctuary, Pentecost Monday is comparable to Albis Monday (minus perhaps the fireworks competition). We start again early in the morning with shots fired down in Moschiano. The parish priest with some people goes up to the Sanctuary and prepares the Statue of the Madonna by placing the mantle for special occasions. The "good" one of a slightly darker light blue, inlaid along the edges and inside with golden flowers, brilliant work of hand embroidery carried out by skilled embroiderers in the 1960s. The open space in front of the Sanctuary and the church are as clear and clean as ever, the work of the tireless and continuous work of the caretaker and his wife.  Now no longer but once upon a time the Statue of the Madonna and Child on her knees was decorated with gold offered by the faithful and with gold crowns. Sign of the times.

The Masses, once at the rate of one every hour celebrated by the parish priests of Moschiano or Vallo and often by native priests of Moschiano who were in other parishes, today are celebrated more rarely but no less than two, three of which one in afternoon to allow as many people to participate.

The parking lot in front of the Sanctuary is full of cars while the churchyard is teeming with people and there is a constant coming and going at the entrance to the Church. Along the road that leads to Monte Pizzone there are other parked cars and street vendor stalls. Since 1973, people have also been pouring into the hall adjacent to the Sanctuary while members of the party committee go from person to person looking for an offer or some sit at the table where everyone can purchase  souvenirs. 

Back

Fiaccola

  The Flame of Faith  

From the story of one of our collaborators:

“Easter 1975 had passed and more and more people came to the Sanctuary at the Charity, but we wanted to extend the cult of the Madonna beyond Moschiano and make it a thing for all the citizens of Vallo di Lauro and beyond and, more importantly, involve all the communities and young people of the Valley.

The idea promoted by Don Salvatore of a torchlight procession began to circulate. Doing it from Moschiano to the Sanctuary in the evening with all the people would have been suggestive but impractical. So why not propose one along the lines of the Olympic torch relay perhaps on the afternoon of the Monday after Pentecost? We would have started from another Sanctuary or Parish of in the Vallo and with a relay we would have carried the torch from that Church to our Santuary of Our Lady of Charity. Naturally this was not intended to be just a gymnastic exercise but a symbol of dedication of the Vallo and beyond to the Madonna. It was proposed to start from Liveri. We began to contact the parish priest and the Father Guardian of the Convent of Santa Maria a Parete in Liveri so that we could organize this event. The idea was also presented to the other parish priests of the Vallo who shared it with enthusiasm. We began to involve young people from all the parishes we would pass through to pray and reflect together as well as the entire population with posters in all the towns.

Don Salvatore asked Maria Pacia (aka “Maria 'e Cecilia”), who was then in Rome with her sisters, to procure torches in the Vatican like those used for the Pope's Via Crucis because we thought they were more resistant to atmospheric agents. She brought us some. The police forces and administrators of the municipalities involved were also contacted and the relevant permits granted.

The big day came on May 19, 1975, Whit Monday. In the morning there were Masses at the Sanctuary with many people. In the afternoon we all went to the Sanctuary of Maria SS a Parete in Liveri. Along the way we could already see the young people from the other Parishes preparing along the route. After a simple ceremony and prayers at the Liveri Sanctuary we left with the first torchbearer. The "panther" of the police and some motorcyclist officers from the Lauro Police are ahead to act as trailblazers and guarantee the safety of the procession. Then the Torch, Don Salvatore's car with the other replacement torches to use along the way and then many other cars to collect the various young people who had completed their journey or simply to follow it up to the Sanctuary. Along the route, people lined the sides of the road with Carabinieri from Marzano, Lauro and Diecici and traffic police from the various towns crossed to ensure everyone's safety. Professor Moschiano's article (see photo) describes the event very well.

There were no hitches. Since we were walking at a fast pace, the torches were consumed more quickly by trotting. In the last kilometer or so we no longer had any and we resorted to candles. The last torchbearers did somersaults (literally) to avoid getting burned and to ensure that the torch did not go out. Despite everything we arrived at the Sanctuary. The brazier placed on a pedestal was there in front of the Church. The bells (now electrified) were ringing in celebration. We expected all the people to arrive and get off the cars and join those already present. There was a lot of it. The torch (now a candle) was passed to the Bishop His Exc. Guerino Grimaldi in the churchyard of the Sanctuary who lit the brazier there. Then everyone entered the church for the Holy Mass of thanksgiving. The Torch of Faith was born.

Note: Don Salvatore cannot be seen in the photo because he was in the back of the Sanctuary. While he was waiting for all the people to get out of the car, suddenly the bells stopped ringing. The generator had stopped. Don Salvatore left the Bishop in the churchyard and ran after him into the courtyard. What had happened? The undersigned (who was in charge of the operation of the generator), overcome by euphoria, had forgotten to check if there was enough fuel. I won't tell you what Don Salvatore didn't tell me."

Since that distant May 19, 1975, the Torch of Faith has become a tradition and has only been interrupted a few times due to force majeure (such as in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic). In the first years the departure was moved from year to year from parish to parish in the Vallo. Marzano, Quidici, Taurano, etc. One year it was even decided to have it start from the Sanctuary of San Gerardo Majella in Materdomini. Its temporal location has also changed. Since the end of the 1980s it has been moved to August to coincide with the festival. Whatever the day or occasion on which it is celebrated or the place of departure, the meaning of the Torch of Faith remains and the participation of the people of Moschiano and the collaboration of the Pro Loco remains unchanged.

Back

1975 Vescovo Grimaldi fiaccola della fed

1975 Vescovo Grimaldi fiaccola della fed

1975 Prima Fiaccola della Fede

1975 Prima Fiaccola della Fede

2020 fiaccola don mimmo

2020 fiaccola don mimmo

Medaglia IV Fiaccola della Fede - Fronte

Medaglia IV Fiaccola della Fede - Fronte

Medaglia IV Fiaccola della Fede - Retro

Medaglia IV Fiaccola della Fede - Retro

bottom of page