Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bonfire Night

It just occurred to me that I never got around to posting the photos of Bonfire Night.

In England, they commemorate the night of the Gunpowder Plot, and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes.

In Norcia, they commemorate the Translation of the Holy House of Loreto.

In briefest terms, because of the threat of desecration by the Mohammetans, the angels picked up the Holy House in which our Blessed Mother spent her early life, and experienced the visit from the angel announcing her role as the Mother Of God, and brought it to safety.

As the Catholic Encyclopedia has it:

Angels conveyed this House from Palestine to the town Tersato in Illyria in the year of salvation 1291 in the pontificate of Nicholas IV. Three years later, in the beginning of the pontificate of Boniface VIII, it was carried again by the ministry of angels and placed in a wood near this hill, in the vicinity of Recanati, in the March of Ancona; where having changed its station thrice in the course of a year, at length, by the will of God, it took up its permanent position on this spot three hundred years ago [now, of course, more than 600]. Ever since that time, both the extraordinary nature of the event having called forth the admiring wonder of the neighbouring people and the fame of the miracles wrought in this sanctuary having spread far and wide, this Holy House, whose walls do not rest on any foundation and yet remain solid and uninjured after so many centuries, has been held in reverence by all nations." That the traditions thus boldly proclaimed to the world have been fully sanctioned by the Holy See cannot for a moment remain in doubt.

It has been the custom in Norcia, and previously all over the Holy Valnerina, to light fires in succession on that night, the vigil of the Feast of the Translation of the Holy House of Loreto, December 9th, to light large bonfires to help the angels find their way across the dark and uninhabited places of the mountains.

Bundle up, it's cold out.

When the day comes for pitchforks and torches, we know the right people.

A total of nine fires are built around town the day before, looking like huge haystacks, and people set up large wood barbeque grills. You go down the hill about nine pm, and meet your neighbours who fill you up with grilled pork, mulled wine, truffle fritata and lentils.

We explained that it is a bad book, against Our Lord, and we'd brought it to burn.

The local county-mountie taking a video for the kids.

It's chilly out; better drink with both hands.

Outside after dark + grilled pig, mulled wine and a house-sized fire =  happiness



Anonymous said...

You look content in those photos.


John said...

Bonfires are great fun. Back in the middle of the last century when I was a barefoot boy, we used to have a Christmas tree bonfire in this town a couple of weeks into January. In the afternoon you would haul your tree down to the park in your wagon and then come back for your neighbor's tree because they never bothered with the bonfire but just put theirs out on the curb for the trash pick-up. At dusk you came back again and waited for it to get dark And then the park guys would light this mountain of trees. It must've been 100 feet high. (Of course, I was 9 or 10 years old so there is some slight possibility that that is an exaggeration . . . nah, it was 100 feet high. At least.) It was spectacular. Particularly if you were a small boy 9 or 10 years of age.

But they don't do that any more. Someone in authority discovered that fires are hot. Or something. I think they have kids color pictures of transgender holiday trees now.

Louise L said...