The ‘Ndocciata in Molise
In the evenings from the 8th to the 24th of December we will witness the ancient fire rite of the “ ‘ndocciata” in Agnone, a town in Molise, known worldwide for its bells.
We’re going to see live how they make the traditional “ ‘ndocce”, flaming torches built using trunks of white fir and bundles of dried broom, tied together to form the so-called “fan”, from the top of which flames will be seen . We will admire the mastery in building the different typologies of “ ‘ndocce”, which can reach several metres in height, from the smallest with a single flame to the larger ones which will light up in 16 distinct flames.
We will listen to the history of the ritual from the bearers of the “ n’doccie”, who are originally from Capammonde and Capabballe, Colle Sente, Guastra, Sant’Onofrio and San Quirico. This tradition has lived throughout the centuries thanks to the peasants of Agnone who once lit up the path with their torches to attend the Christmas night mass.
On the evening of the feast we will witness the tolling of the historic bells of the town. Following, we will enjoy a parade along the village streets with people holding flaming torches and wearing woolen capes, black hats and traditional farmers’ clothing. They will form one whole sparkling wake of fire with the “’ndoccie” lit. The procession will begin with the smallest torches and then continue with larger ones, supported by the strong arms of the carriers. Finally, in Piazza Plebiscito, we will see the remains of the “’ndoccie” turning into “The Big Bonfire Of Brotherhood”, the fire that will illuminate the darkness of the night to symbolize purification, destroying the negativities of the year which is now over and greeting the new year.