Sunday, January 18, 2009
Yesterday was Sant'Antonio, otherwise known as Saint Anthony or Sant'Antuon' here in Campania. Besides being protector of animals, he also protects everyone who has anything to do with fire, apparently because of a story in which he descended into Hell to try to save the sinners' souls from the Devil. In fact, Italians call the illness shingles (herpes zoster) "il fuoco di Sant'Antonio," Saint Anthony's fire. Every year on January 17 in Marigliano, our little town, people make these gargantuan bonfires with old furniture and other junk they have hanging around to celebrate the saint. These fires go really high up, sometimes higher than the apartment buildings around them, and look like a sort of geyser of flames, with chunks of ashes that fly up in the air and come down even hundreds of meters away. Pretty impressive! Here's one that they made outside our apartment, photographed from our balcony. It was nearly impossible to photograph, but you get the idea. You can see the windows lit up in the apartments behind the fire.