Saint Cyrus Celebration
The feast of San Ciro is considered the patron saint of Grottaglie and its festivities, both liturigic and popular, coincide on January 31st. It is said that the day coincides with the martyrdom of the Saint in 303, who was then proclaimed patron saint minus principalis in 1780.
During the celebration, believers can experience moments of common prayer, rushing to the saint’s chapel and following the procession, keeping the thaumaturgical tradition of the day alive. Numerous are in fact the tales of miracles and prodigious facts attributed to the saint.
Even the less religious side can still enjoy the characteristic festivities of the city: the evening before the celebration indeed it is tradition to organize the “bonfire or foc’ra”.
On this occasion different types of wood (trunks, shoots, branches, boards, etc.) are stacked one on top of the other, in order to form a large cone with a total height of approximately 10 meters. On the top of this structure is placed a cross with the image of the saint on it. In the evening, at the end of the religious service, the archpriest, the faithful and visitors walk towards this cone accompanied by the musical notes of the local band and, after the ritual blessing, set fire to the bonfire.
The event is strongly felt by the whole local population and the number of faithful present for the occasion is always remarkable. Despite this event is experienced mainly by the more adult segment of the population (being a purely religious celebration) children and young people are often attracted by the modest illuminations scattered throughout the city and by the well-tended fireworks that are fired during the evening.