Local Celebrations: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

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The local religious celebrations represent a pillar of the Puglia’s culture and also a cheerful example of the richness of our traditions.
On the 16th July, the Catholic Church celebrates Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This devotion has ancient roots, especially in the Southern Italy and in Puglia. Indeed here there are so many churches dedicated to the Virgin and an extended use of the first name Carmela (Carmen, in its Spanish derivative) for girls and Carmelo for boys.

A Toritto, in the province of Bari, the 16th July is an important occasion that lives up the entire neighbourhood, with people gathering to worship and celebrating the Virgin.
A Toritto the Church of Mount Carmel (Chiesa del Carmelo) is a church of the early 20th century, with a single nave. The emblem of the confraternity of the Carmel stands who owns the church stands on the front. Inside you can hear the solemn notes of a beautiful 18th century organ, restored and fully functional.
On the altar, the image of Holy Mary: a stuffed dummy of the 19th century dressed in the colors of the Carmel, cream and brown. In the arms of the Virgin she cradles her baby, also dressed in the same colors.
During the festival, the square in front of the church, characterized by a monument dedicated to the emigrants, is full of people who gather there while waiting for the return of the procession. This is a rare and unique opportunity to bring together the entire neighbourhood, which today celebrates its Patron.

So if you are in Puglia, try to make your trip coincide with one of the many patron feasts or festivals that take place in the region throughout the year. These traditions will definitely make the visit in Puglia always a new and different experience.

Article by Angela

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