In order to analyze in detail the influence of the current pandemic emergency on the celebration of the Feast of Celestinian Forgiveness, one cannot ignore the two celebratory moments that take place in the period from 16 to 29 August and which are well highlighted in the recognition of the heritage:
A) The “Cammino del Perdono” which crosses over 23 locations in the Province of Aquila with an itinerary exceeding 80 km.
B) The Procession of the Bull (Corteo della Bolla) with the involvement of the Aquilana community in the historical and spiritual rituals of the Celebration of Celestinian Forgiveness.
Both of these celebratory moments were the subject of specific institutional meetings coordinated by the local Prefecture of L’Aquila, to ensure their proper conduct in compliance with the Ministerial provisions, with continuous updates and the issuance of specific “ordinances” that have strictly regulated the celebration from August 16 to 29, keeping the tradition alive, despite the numerous technical, operational and organizational limitations.
In the case of the “Cammino del Perdono” we have not been able to carry out some celebratory moments consolidated over time, replacing them with other practices, which have not however brought harm to the event.
The communities they crossed confirmed their attachment to the traditional annual celebration, participating in large numbers even in the presence of the current emergency contingency, demonstrating a sense of responsibility using personal protective equipment, implementing personal distancing and avoiding marches and gatherings.
Even in the final ceremony of the Way on 23 August in L’Aquila, the date that has marked the beginning of the Celebration of Forgiveness for 40 years, at the Piazzale della Basilica di Collemaggio, in the presence of over 1000 spectators everything was carried out in the most complete respect of safety rules.
The Bull Parade of the day of 28 August also had to adapt to the Ministerial provisions which prohibited the processions and gatherings. It was opted in agreement with the Authorities to carry out a “static” procession, which could equally well represent the sense of cultural and historical continuity of the community of the city of L’Aquila and of the entire Province for the Feast of Celestinian Forgiveness.
The “static” procession flanked, honoring it, the passage of the main protagonists of the festival, the Lady of the Bull, the Young Lord and the Lady of the Cross escorted by the Mayor and by the ancient medieval signs of the city. In front of the Basilica of Collemaggio, in the presence of Authorities and the public contingent upon the anti-Covid norms, the celebratory rite of Celestinian Forgiveness, handed down to us uninterruptedly since 1294 and which transmits a great message to peace, reconciliation, social cohesion and Even for the day of 29 August, the end of the Feast of Forgiveness, the procession of return of the Bull to the Municipal residence took place in a “static” form in a short city trip.
In conclusion, despite the serious emergency context of the Covid 19 pandemic, the resilient will expressed as for the 2009 earthquake by the Aquila and Provincial communities, allowed all the events related to the Celebration of Celestinian Forgiveness to be held, thus guaranteeing the protection of its cultural heritage.
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