standard-title Traditions


Madonna della Bruna – July 2

The celebration of the Madonna della Bruna is for Matera a very special event, engaging and waited for all year. The festival begins at dawn on July 2, with the solemn mass in the cathedral, followed by the “pastoral procession”  announced by fireworks, through the main streets of the city, carry the painting of the Madonna della Bruna, that according to the legend was found under a tree just by shepherds. At noon begins the second procession: the one where the statue of Our Lady, driven by religious and civil authorities and escorted by the “Knights of Bruna”, is slowly carried from the Cathedral to the periphery of the city, in the church of the popular district of Piccianello.

In the late afternoon, after the Mass, the statue is placed in the “turret” at the stern of the triumphal papier-mâché cart. This is the moment at dusk, the slow procession back to the city center begins. Once arrived on the small square outside the cathedral, the cart will turn around, and only later the statue, accompanied by the Archbishop, is deposited in the Cathedral. At this point the cart, now devoid of the sacred image and escorted by knights uprights harnessed horses with paper flowers and velvet, but recently also by law enforcement officers in riot gear, start earning your way to Piazza Vittorio Veneto,where a large crowd waiting has gathered to watch the “strazzo”: the assault and the destruction of the cart, the result of a craft that lasted many months. After the “strazzo” the festival ends late at night with fireworks.

The Crapiata – August 1

The crapiata  is an ancient recipe in Matera, originated in Roman times, as well as a local specialty, is a collective ritual, which developed in the neighborhoods of the Sassi of Matera. Today after the emptying of the Sassi is “celebrated” in the village La Martella, but years ago there were those who, in the new town, appreciate the ritual.

It is basically a poor man’s dish, consists of a mix of legumes and cereals, is intended to enjoy the new season’s crop, the work of all the peasants of the quartier Sassi, and the only seasoning was salt. It is also a moment of solidarity, because everybody contribute, according to their capabilities. This collective rite is celebrated every 1 of August, with music, dancing and brightness. Today you can also buy it in jars already packed.

Carnival time

The matinate (Songs of alms) are the way to celebrate the carnival, an ancient tradition almost disused. During the carnival in a rural town like Matera, it was also the time of the killing of the pig, who owned more than one pig was wealthy enough to be able to withstand a Matinata. The Matinata is to bring music and entertainment in the home of a relative or acquaintance, especially after the killing of the pig, from those who were not wealthy and could not afford sausages and meat often. People during Matinata explicitly ask to be able to “taste” the pig (from the text of the traditional songs), in order to enjoy at least for a day like the others and with others. For a few hours until the next morning, in the vicinities of a poor community like that of the Sassi,  could celebrate carelessly and without distinction between those who had the “stuff” (see Mastro Don Gesualdo, Giovanni Verga) and who had not, like for the day of the Carnival in Venice, between the masked there were social differences and you could say what you thought.

The typical instrument for popular music during the  matinata is the “cupa cupa”, simple tool of peasant origin. The “cupa cupa” accompanied with other instruments various songs of which two are typical, and from the past, the “Serenata” for requesting the input and the “Cupa Cupa” during the  party. Today those who continue the tradition of Matera matinata, aims only to party.