Our Lady of Loreto

"Za'r vdem' l'8 Sttiembra"; ("We’ll see each other again on 8th September") – It is not unusual giving a rendezvous on the occasion of the celebrations held in honor of Our Lady of Loreto, the dearest feast to Capracottesi (Capracotta people), who return to the village on that date from all over the world.

 The celebrations, which for an unknown tradition are held every three years, take place on 7th, 8th and 9th September. On the evening of 7th, the statue of the Virgin is transferred in torchlight procession from the Sanctuary located at the entrance of the village into the Mother Church; on the 8th the recurrence of Mary’s nativity is celebrated with solemnity. The festivities end with the Act of consecration to Our Lady, recited by all Capracottesi on 9th in Falconi square before returning the statue to its original location.

Particularly striking is the "parade of horses”, which replaced mules. Richly decorated with plush blankets and cloths and adorned with frills of any kind, they accompany the passage of the venerated statue through the village streets, paying their humble, and in some cases "pounding" homage while taking leave.

The origin of this celebration is closely tied to the legend of a tree trunk, on which a sacred image is said to be miraculously imprinted and appearing to some locals.

Devotion to the mystical gradually blended with pastoral elements, with particular reference to the ritual of transhumance. The tradition says that the chapel was built by the shepherds, who "felt almost a spiritual need, rising with time, to consecrate that place to devoutly come there to invoke help in departing and to thank the Virgin patron saint of travelers of long journeys, the Madonna di Loreto, for their return "(L. Campanelli, The Capracotta Collegiate Church).

Even today, the handing down of this heartfelt devotion testifies to Capracottesi’s deep bond to their traditions.

Photos from 2008 Feast