a male-only eventchristmas 2015 – 11th entry
click to read the christmas 2015 posts

christmas-fireI find it odd to think back some 60 years and remember that I was living in Aprigliano and that my dad took me to see the Christmas bonfire. He had me on his shoulders as we walked from our house up to the church of Santo Stefano. I also remember that the days before Christmas Eve, someone came around and collected firewood from every family for the bonfire. The fire was lit on the small piazza in front of our parish church and it was nurtured through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Each parish had its own Christmas bonfire and if you had moved, you even went back to your old parish to view its bonfire. What I’ve learned since is that it was a male-only event. Both my mom and my aunt tell about not being allowed to go see the bonfire, because they were unmarried young women.

The image on the left is from a FB site for residents and expats from Aprigliano. There are several images of the bonfire; my favorites are of the old men in their white-plastic chairs sitting away from the sparks and heat of the bonfire. There are about 50 men in the Piazza and only two women. The men are well over 40; the two women are much younger and they are only interacting with a young man. Guess the old men still rule and the old traditions still hang on.

The fire in the image is in Piazza di Guarno, not at a parish church. Guess everywhere in the world centralization is the rule.