Every year on Christmas Eve in Oratino, which is listed among the most beautiful villages in Italy, one of the oldest and best-known traditions in Molise is celebrated: the Faglia. This festival is named after the giant reed torch about 13 metres long that is carried from the village entrance to the bell tower of the church, the highest point of the village in the heart of the old centre. It is then raised and lit to light the spiritual path for all the locals.
The reeds, harvested a few weeks earlier, are bound together on prior December evenings by numerous volunteers using 26–28 rings of flexible manna ash wood. The ritual of transporting the Faglia, carried on the shoulders of about 50 men, takes place in the early afternoon hours of Christmas Eve, accompanied by popular music and songs.
Having arrived at the churchyard, after much effort and emotion, the bearers raise the Faglia and secure it to the Bell Tower and other side walls with steel cables.
In the late evening, the priest blesses the lighting of the torch from the top of the belfry.
A myriad of sparks light up the darkest and longest night of the year: in the darkness, this powerful light shines to warm people’s hearts and lives.
The ancient Roman festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the birthday of the sun god Sol Invictus) returns to bring joy to our hearts with a new hope: the birth of a Child, a new sun, who will never see the sunset!
credits SNAP Studio Creativo di Marco Ramacciato