Benvenuti / Welcome to
Benvenuti / Welcome to
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Pastena’s Feast Days and Celebrations
May Day Festivities
30 April – 1 May – “Il Maggio” / Festa del’Albero della Cuccagna
Held to celebrate the arrival of spring, when pagan rituals are combined with religious rites. Preparations for this feast actually commence at the beginning of April. One month prior to the May festivities, a calf is selected and adorned with a red silk coat and a silver cross and chain is wound around the beast’s horns. The calf is then blessed by the parish priest, before being led down to the grassy plain where it set free and allowed to roam for one month, after which it is ritually offered in the form of a sacrifice and the meat is shared out amongst the festival organisers.
On the 15th April the local men go out into the woods to choose the best tall, straight tree. Once this has been selected a cross is carved out of the bark mark it. Early in the morning of 30th April many of the local men folk will gather around the chosen tree for a traditional ceremony where the parish priest recites prayers. The master of ceremonies takes the axe and makes the first cut in the presence of the calf, with each of the participants taking their turn to wield the axe. The actual felling of the tree is marked by gun shots and a drum roll. The tree is then cleaned of the bark and branches etc. There follows a ritual “funeral” procession for “the tree of sacrifice” that has been taken from the “sacred forest”. Slowly but surely it is hauled up to the village with the help of a strong pair of oxen lead by the sacred calf. Offerings of food and wine are given to the followers along the way. After many arduous hours the tree and procession eventually arrive at the Porta Napoli.
On the 1st May in the main square, in front of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the top of the tree is adorned with May flowers of broom. A hole is prepared and then the men work together using ropes to gradually winch the tree trunk into an upright position. On the 3rd May, on the feast day of the Santissima Santa Croce a Mass and then the statue of Sant’ Elena on her throne, is taken from the church and carried around all the districts of the town. Typically the womenfolk have previously prepared a type of sweet bread / doughnut in the shape of a decorated ring called a Ciambellone, these are carried during the procession as a symbol of religious devotion. The procession is accompanied by ceremonial gunfire.
Then there is a competition amongst the young men of the village, when they attempt to scale the pole, which has previously been smeared with grease. At the top there are prizes for the successful climber. In the evening there is musical entertainment and fireworks.
(The tree trunk remains in place in the square until September, when it is cut down and distributed as firewood to the local inhabitants of Pastena.) Some photos of this event
First Sunday in June -
Pastena has been known for the cultivation of cherries for many years. This festival began as a fair of goods, produce and cattle and the local inhabitants used to transport their goods with donkeys and oxen that pulled the wagons loaded with wood. Over the years, the wagons and the animals were decorated with cherries, and the fair becoming a folk event.
The festival is held in the square near to the Pastena’s caves and it is also dedicated to the Madonnina di Lourdes. Mass is said in the small Chiesa delle Grotte. The parade of carriages and floats decorated with cherries makes its way from the church to the square in front of the caves. A trophy is awarded to the most beautifully decorated carriage and the winners then distribute cherries amongst the crowd of spectators. Many of the locals dress in the typical Ciociaria costumes and the festivities include singing and dancing to traditional music. A video of 2014’s celebrations.
13 June – Festa di Sant’ Antonio di Padua
Last Sunday in September – Festa di San Sinforo Martire Video
1 October -
December / January -
Common Surnames of Pastena
ABATE, ABBATECOLA, ANDREOZZI, ANELLA, APICE
BARTOLOMUCCI, BARTOLUMI, BELLINCAMPI, BERTACCHINI, BIANCHI
BIASINI, BISCEGLIA, BORSA , BRACCO, BRAVO, BRUNO, BUONOCORE CAPARRELLI, CARAMADRE, CARNEVALE, CARROCCIA, CATALLO, CECCARELLI CERRONI, CHIARO, CHIRICO, CIAVAGLIA, CINQUERANELLA, COLELLA, CONTI, CORDA, CORPOLONGO, CORSETTI, CRESCENZI
D'OVIDIO, DE ANGELIS, DE ANGELIS, DE FABRITIIS, DE FELICE
DE FILIPPIS, DE LELLIS, DE VITA, DEGNI, DI DOMENICO, DI LETA
DI MASCOLO, DIDOMENICO
FAIOLA, FARRIS, FEDELE, FERRACCIOLI, FERRACIOLI, FERRANTE
FOGLIA, FORTE, FORTUCCI, FORTUNA, FRATTARELLI
GALLINA, GIANNITTI, GLADIOTTI, GNESI, GRIMALDI, GROSSI, GUADAGNI
LEO, LONGO, LORELLO, LUCENTE, LUZZI
MANCINI, MANFREDI, MANGO, MARAFIODI, MARAFIOTI, MARSELLA, MARTINI MARZELLA, MASTROMATTEI, MATTAROCCI, MATTEI, MESSIA, MICHELI MINCHELLA, MINGARELLI, MORETTI, MORRONE MOSCOLONI
OLIVA, OLTRINI, OTTAVIANI
PIACITELLI, PACINI, PALOMBI, PALOMBO, PANICO, PANNONE, PAOLUCCI, PAPETTI, PARISI, PASCALE, PERRUZZA, PERSICONE, PETRUCCI, PETRUCCI, PICCIRILLI, POLLARI, POMPEI, POMPILI
QUARANTA, QUATTRUCCI, QUINTO, QUIRICO
RAFANIELLO, REDENTORI, RENZI, RICCI, RINALDI, ROMA
ROSATI, ROSSI, RUSCETTA, SALAMENA, SALVATI, SANTILLI, SARRACINO SCHIAPPA, SCHIBONI SEBASTIANELLI, SPADA, SPIRITO, STRACQUALURSI, STRADONE, SUMAN, SUSA
TAMMETTA, TISCI, TRANI, TULLIO
VALENTE, VELLA, VERZARI, VONA
ZANNELLA, ZAZZARO, ZOMPARELLI
If you have family that originated from Pastena please feel free to Contact us.
We would love to hear from you.
Perhaps you have some relevant information to contribute to this site.
Perhaps you have some relevant information that you would like to contribute to this site.
Many thanks to Pio Michele Di Turi and Corinasdavide for kindly sharing their photographs.