What to do in Positano - Amalfi Coast feasts - Positano traditions

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Feast of Our Lady of Assumption, between faith and tradition

August 1, 2019

Art, faith and traditions of the Amalfi Coast are rooted in the mists of time and arouse unique suggestions. Part of the cultural, religious and architectural heritage of Positano, is the majestic Church of Santa Maria Assunta.

Art, faith and traditions of the Amalfi Coast are rooted in the mists of time and arouse unique suggestions. Part of the cultural, religious and architectural heritage of Positano, is the majestic Church of Santa Maria Assunta. It is undoubtedly one of the major local artistic and religious attractions, made even more fascinating by the large majolica dome and the bright green, yellow and blue tiles: a picture of incredible beauty crowning the turquoise waters of our coast.

Our Lady of Assumption, the protector of the vertical city, is celebrated on the 14th and 15th of August each year, in this magic scenario.

 

The history of the black Madonna

 

According to the tradition, the arrival of the black Madonna painting was prodigious: in the 12th century the icon was on board a sailing ship which took refuge in the bay of Positano, seeking shelter from a storm.

The sailors seemed to hear a voice saying “put down, put down” and this event was interpreted as the will of the Madonna to remain in that place. The sailors then decided to follow the wish of the voice and donated the Byzantine icon to the inhabitants of Positano, who elected Our Lady of Assumption as their protector. And the faith in the black Madonna is infinite, today as then.

 

Celebrations

 

The feast of the Our Lady of Assumption starts on the 14th August and consists of rituals, traditions and religious processions. To begin with, let’s talk about the ceremony of the “Alzata del quadro” (the raising of the framework) on the 14th August, which always results in a great participation of citizens and tourists: after the morning Mass, everyone gathers in the square and above the staircases leading to the Church. A rope stretched from above is slowly raised to lift the canvas that protects the painting. Intense emotions emerge at the sight of the effigy of the Madonna, which seems to fly into the sky and reach the cross placed on the main facade.

An explosion of sounds and a kaleidoscope of colours. Music, party bells, prayers, applause, flower petals thrown by paragliders, confetti and balloons … a truly unique experience.

On the 15th August the festivities continue with a procession on the beach, which accompanies the Statue of the Madonna Santa Maria Assunta. During this ritual, it is customary to look on the beach for stones pierced from side to side, which are then used to create lucky ornaments. During the celebrations, typical festivals are often organized in Positano and finally, that night is lit up with sparkling fireworks.

Not only. A gathering of boats from all over the coast animates a marine show recalling the life of the ancient fishing village. You can appreciate this event from the privileged view of the sea: mini tourist cruises are indeed made available to experience the enchanted atmosphere of this suggestive celebration.