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Annunciation day the 25th of March

by Francesco Tarlano


Until a hundred years ago in the village of Grumento Nova, during the Annunciation Day, there was a particular ritual: in the quarter called “‘Ngulastr”, next to the cemetery, it was used to let the children affected by congenital hydrocele pass naked through a slit made at the center of the trunk of an elm.

The hole was held opened by two “godfathers” during the noon mass in the church of Annunciation, in particular during the moment of bread and wine consecration into the Body and Blood of Christ, at the ring of the bells.

In that moment it was used to pronounce a ritual sentence that said: «Pass’ cumpar’ (e) ca cogl’ (ie) è sanat’ (e)».

After the passage of ill children the elm trunk was closed and bound up with fresh moss.

If the elm survived, the meaning was that the tree had necessary strength to cure the children, otherwise not.

About this ceremony, which in the past attracted people even from areas very far away, it remains just in the memory of the elderly people of the village.