"U Signuri Longu" - Procession of 25 August - Castroreale


Among the religious traditions of Castroreale the festival in honor of SS. Crucified (in the local dialect "U Longu Gentlemen") plays since the mid sec.XIX the main place for both the religious and folkloric significance, both for the large turnout of audience, which comes from all sides. T

he establishment of the festival dates back to 1854, the year in which a terrible cholera epidemic raged in the city of Messina, mowing, in the space of just two months, about thirty thousand people. At the first signs of evil messinesi many had tried to escape the contagion repairing the countryside and in the countries nearest the province. Castroreale came among others Vadalà Mrs. Josephine, wife of the city of Messina Orazio Nicosia, who then resided there by reason of use.

Just arrived, the lady turned out to already affected by the bad and the news spread rapidly among the population, which until then had remained immune, sowed alarm and consternation. It was thought to have recourse to divine help in this serious moment, a procession carrying the image of the Crucifix venerated in the church of S. Agatha, to whom the people were usually used in various disasters. Was August 25. When the procession arrived at the house, where lived Mr. Nicosia, these and away from the bed on which his wife now lay dying, assisted by a priest, he went to kneel on the balcony and, turning his eyes full of tears to the sacred image pleaded miracle. There he heard the voice of his wife, who never spoke a few hours more, and progress at the bedside, he found her sitting on the bed and how to get back to life.

The miracle of joy filled the town, which at that time have not shown any other case of colera.A From then on the day of 25 August was dedicated to the feast of SS. Crucified, whose solemnization of popular devotion has replaced the patronal feast of St. Eve (31 December) and Assumption (15 August). The celebration lasts three days and open in the afternoon from August 23 with the translation of the Crucifix from the church of S. Agate to the Mother Church, where it remains exposed to the cult until the afternoon of 25 the following year, when reported in a solemn procession to his chiesa.Per its uniqueness, the procession is the main attraction. The life-size statue of the Crucified, expressionistic work of an unknown plastic seventeenth century, together with the cross on which is placed, is mounted on the end of a tall pole and sturdy multifaceted, painted in black and armed on the anterior and posterior large nails at regular intervals.

Through a skilful maneuver poles of various lengths of iron ending in hairpins, which are pinned under these nails, the long wood is hoisted, placed a lead and then secured with two steel pins in a heavy fercolo, which is then brought to shoulder to the main streets. The cross as leafy reaches a height of about fourteen feet, and exceeds all the buildings except the Mother Church, in which, with its upper end almost touching the beams of the roof of the nave. The carriage procession through streets that have steep slopes and that's a complex balancing act made possible by the support of these poles, that underpin the very high cross on the uphill and downhill. The emotion then procession moves very slowly and with great composure and holds their breath the faithful and tourists who flock to the festivities vederla.Sono those days when Castroreale is the place continues to visitors, including foreigners, attracted by the place religious sentiment, but also by curiosity and character soberly spectacular event.

The applicant relies primarily a crowd of natives and citizens of Castroreale emigrants abroad and is the deepest bond with their land and for those with their roots by the necessities of life has been thrown away. In the afternoon of August 25, is imposing the multitude of people, from all countries of the zone reaches Castroreale, and the town lives on that day, also from the economic point of view, its most important moment.


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