Village of Palagianello

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Patron Saint's feast

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Festival and Patron Saint’s feast in Palagianello

Palagianello’s Patron Saint’s feast is “Madonna delle Grazie” on the 31st  of May. Palagianello celebrates its Patron on Easter Monday  and this is a tradition which goes back to 10 years ago. The celebration starts with Our Lady’s solemn procession which passes through all the village. At the end of the procession everybody goes to look at the splendid fireworks. The decorative lighting is amazing a typical Apulian tradition. Till the seventies, the solemn procession of the “Madonna delle Grazie’s statue” started from the ruined homonymous chapel that every year attracted a great number of devoted followers even from the neighbouring villages.
Historical Info
The devotion to “Madonna delle Grazie” by Palagianello inhabitants, with the passing of time has always been total and full, and a document edited by a newspaper called “Il Quotidiano” on December 1991, testifies that in 1742 on the basis of an expense in a balance sheet, under Domini Roberti’s patronage, the patron was “Arcangelo San Michele”. The other venerated Saint was also Saint Nicola, the titular of the most inaccessible rupestrian sanctuary, venerated also in far off lands as could be testified by the discovery of some venetian coins of the XIV and XV centuries, found nearby the temple.  In November 1879 the finding of 83 coins (1 gold and 82 silver) in Saint Nicola’s Crypt, period of the Venetian Republic, dated from the XIII to the XV centuries, is testified in the documents dated 1880, at Lecce’s State Archive. Madonna delle Grazie, as all Saint protectors, with the passing of time has been opposing the strong devotion towards these last Saints but the devotion to Her has been total and unique and with the passing of time has become the most important one because it is characterized by a deep love of the inhabitants towards Her.

Popular devotion
Palagianello’s inhabitants have deep faith towards their Patron Saint Madonna delle Grazie. The deep faith is demonstrated by their devotion in preserving Her Statue and dowry (clothes, mantle, hair, sedan chair).
• Her usual dress was donated in 1951 by defunct Comm. Rocco Natale.
• Her honorific dress worn in solemn processions was donated in 1981 by defunct Carmine Natale’s heirs.
• Her actual two mantles which alternatively cover the sacral effigy were donated by defunct Vicenzo Di Fonzo and Sir Vito Colaninno.
• The silver town keys that are given to the Madonna delle Grazie on Easter Monday which represent the humble and faithful consecration of Palagianello’s inhabitants were donated in 1918 by Mrs Carmina Natale in Petrera.
• The Virgin’s and Baby Jesus’s hair were donated by Mr and Mrs Mianulli Antonio and Maria in 1981.
• The golden wooden base on which the statue stands seems to be dated 1824, the same period in which the confraternity was born.
In Palagianello the patronal festivals in honour of Madonna delle Grazie are on Easter Sunday, the Resurrection of Jesus which in the past occurred on Saturday and there was also the tradition of the “Klom d’Pasq” (=an Italian Easter cake). It was mostly made by grandmothers who made this cake by themselves to give to their nieces and nephews. This cake was a simple sweet handmade dough with a round shape and a chicken egg in its centre. It is very important to underline the importance this cake had in a period when consumerism had not contaminated the genuineness both of food and of people’s civilization. Unfortunately in our modern society where the Easter Cake is advertised and produced by several confectionary factories this tradition has been lost with the passing of time. Another tradition which has not completely disappeared but has been limited with time is Confirmation by the bishop in the chapel before the start of the solemn Madonna procession through the village streets. Another tradition that has been completely lost is the auction-sale in Antico Santuario road, which started when the Statue arrived near a Mediterranean bush on the tuff slope.  The auction consisted in giving the best economical offer to become the carrier of the sacral Statue. The tradition of the “du sciuscill” is still used, a typical meal that Palagianello people eat on Easter Sunday which consists of boiled lamb meat, fennel, eggs and cheese.
It is commonly reported...
According to popular tradition, Castellaneta’s inhabitants hated Palagianello’s for their beautiful Statue so that the former tried to steal it. There were several of them coming doing the trails of Palagianello’s gravine  they took Her and through the same trails they carried Her back. When they arrived just near the Pine forest, on the other side of the slope, just in front of the Sanctuary they took a rest. It had been a very hard  venture to purloin the statue through the inaccessible trails! Then when they tried again to lift Her up, they were surprisingly astonished because they couldn’t. Any effort and any expedient were useless. They had to go back to their Castellaneta village without the statue. During the venture, the Virgin appeared in a dream to the prior of the confraternity disclosing the fact (the confraternity of Maria SS Delle Grazie was founded and ratified on 30 may 1824 with a Decree Law, in Naples). The prior immediately woke up and went straight to the sanctuary where he really discovered that the Statue was no longer there. Even if in the dead of night  he went from door to door to woke up all his brothers who carried the Statue easily to Her chapel. It was this circumstance that brought the brothers of the Confraternity Maria SS delle Grazie and other devoted followers to watch over the Statue.

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