Feast of Sant’Antuono. The Feast of Sant’Antuono (or Sant’Antonio Abate) is one of the most heartfelt festivities by the people of Campania. In Macerata Campania (CE) it is celebrated on January 17th of each year, but the period of celebration is completed by the Saturday and Sunday that precedes it.
Feast of Sant’Antuono in Macerata Campania
Typical of the festival is the parade of the “Battuglie di Pastellessa”, or the “Wagons of Sant’Antuono” on which the so-called “Bottari di Macerata Campania” are positioned. Characteristic are the musical instruments used: barrels, vats and sickles, that is, instruments and tools of peasant use that take on a new look of musical nature and that reproduce the magical sound of the “Pastellessa”.
This dates back to the thirteenth century when the peasants, during the traditional agricultural fairs, to highlight the solidity of the tools on the one hand and to attract the attention of passers-by on the other, beat the tools and produced this particular sound.
Tradition has it that the Pastellessa was born to “drive away evil” in an attempt to remove evil spirits from the dark corners of their cellars and then repeated over the centuries to propitiate a good harvest. Pagan ritual transported in the Christian age and merged into the Feast of St. Anthony, patron saint of animals.
The term Pastellessa derives from a typical recipe of poor cuisine: the past’ and ‘llessa (or past’ and ‘llesse), or pasta with boiled chestnuts. In Macerata Campania tradition has it that this recipe is prepared, accompanied by strawberry grape wine produced with native vines.
Although Macerata Campania is located in the plain in ancient times chestnuts were grown in the area now associated with the hamlet Caturano, in fact in 1823 Giuseppe Maria Alfano in the book entitled “Istorica Descrizione del Regno di Napoli” stated that in the farmhouse of Catorano (today Caturano) there was the production of chestnuts, while in the farmhouses of Macerata and Casalba, Areas also belonging to the municipality of Macerata, was replaced with that of Canapi.