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Shooting the St. Gerard Festival in Potenza

Every year I try to not miss the St. Gerard Festival when my town, Potenza, becomes alive and full of foreigners for five days. Last week I had the opportunity to shoot again this event.

I Portatori del Santo

Last year winning photograph!

This year I’ve been awarded a price for the best photograph made last year. I’m humbled in receiving this award, and it was quite frightening to step up and speak on the stage, in front of a square crowded with hundreds of people.

This year I had the desire to shoot the entire event in black and white, just because I think it better captures the souls of people and places. Here is a small selection of images from this festival. I hope you would be so kind to share it with your friends if you like it.

A man drinking wine at the “cannizzo”

A man drinking wine at the “cannizzo”

People drink a toast

People drink a toast

Despite being a religious celebration dedicated to the patron saint of the town, the central element of the festivities are wine and folk music. The fact that wine is the central element is not surprising, in fact the origins of Italian folk festivals are very old and date back to Roman times, when the inebriation was the focal point of pagan feasts.

People dancing

People dancing

People dancing

People dancing

People dancing

People dancing

For five days, people dances, drinks wine and plays morra, a hand game that dates back thousands of years to ancient Roman and Greek times.

People playing the “imorra”

People playing the “morra”

The culmination of the festival is the Parade of the Turks. This parade is the memory of a Ottoman invasion rejected thanks to the miraculous intervention of the patron saint. Though, the origins of this myth are lost in time, and no one knows if it really happened.

The parade ends with the effigy of the saint carried on shoulders through the city to the cathedral, and the whole festival ends with religious rituals and a procession in honour of the patron saint.

The Bearers of the Saint enter in Saint Gerard
square.

The Bearers of the Saint enter in Saint Gerard square.

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