An ancient and contemporary tale.
In Winter, the earth is cold. It is sorrowful and bare.
Demetra is saddened by the loss of Persephone, her daughter.
Ade kidnapped the girl and kept her with him. Only for a few months a year her mother is allowed to see her. Punctually, for the return of Persephone, her mother Demetra organizes a great celebration. She decorates trees and enriches everything with beauty and prosperity. The sky is clear, the air is warm. Flowers bloom and the earth is reborn. That energy that continues and motivates its existence flourishes. Spring is back.
In Napoli the mountain awakens. It takes light and life blossoms. Nature calls to life. It calls for rebirth and is still a great celebration today. A tradition that the “paranze” and the singers (as priests and priestesses) since ancient time of Campania Felix always honor.
Talking about the Mountain, Neapolitan refer to Mount Somma which is the original volcano of the complex we call Vesuvius.
The Somma mountain has always been a volcano. Originally its “body” must have reached about 2000 meters above the sea level. It burst one day, venting the outbreak and opening up where the earth was more tender. Thus the crater was created.
Therefore Vesuvius is made up of Mount Somma and the crater where it vents.
At the feet of Monte Somma there is a source of water. Water that once flowed impetuously and was renewed in the bed of the Sebeto river.
Water is able to cool part of the entire mountain complex. Mount Somma is in fact the cold part that balances its warm part, the crater. Mount Somma keeps the energy opposed to it at bay by protecting the inhabitants from lava and fire.
During the “Saturday of the Fires”, which the paranze and the singers always honor, the outbreak of the mountain is remembered by recreating it with fireworks.
In Spring there is the custom for the locals to go to the edge of the mountain and celebrate the rebirth. From the edge you can see the very suggestive overhang, created by the erosion of the first lava descended from Vesuvius.
In order to reach the edge you walk uphill for about 4 hours. Many do. They do it out of devotion, to honor and thank the earth. Especially young people who, following the tradition today, show courage.
A young man who want to make a promise to his girlfriend does so on this occasion.
Accompanied by singers and other locals, the young man climbs to the edge of the mountain, picks a “perteca” (branch), and returns down to the village to give the branch to his girlfriend making a promise, that of making their love blossom.
The “perteca” is the same that is also represented on the Etruscan vases. The gift of promise, a seed that will bear fruit.