A personal view of the main feast celebrated in Reggio (Calabria, Italy),
best known as "Festa della Madonna della Consolazione" (Feast of Our Lady of Consolation).
This is a work based on the procession which takes place on September every year, deliberately stripped of religious component that characterizes the event, to better focus on a less known and more interesting aspects of the event, a folkloristic and cultural perspective that sounds like a cross-section of the society.
Reggio feast is literally a mirror of its people that cannot be changed by the modern globalized society. For better or for worse, they seem to prefer only what they have.
The italian word Consolazione
comes from the Latin "Consolatio" which means precisely consolation, but also comfort, compassion. However I find amazing the extraordinary connection between the word Consolation with the way of of life of this people.
Thousand of years of history made this town a stronghold of Greek culture. This has resulted, unlike other places in southern Italy, a closed and impervious attitude to new things. People here do not seem to have particular needs, they seem to be fine with what they have.
Someone consider this as a social illness, a common feeling that afflicts people hostile to modernity, but Reggio people love today to consolate theirself with patron's feast almost did not need anything but that week of September every year.
Religious factor or not, they love their "Mother" taking care of them in a total participation, regardless of being believers there's no person in Reggio that never went to see this procession, even if just for a few times in his life.
So this is my story: looking at the strong expressions in these bodies stretched towards the "Vara" I see the real soul of the feast, in this continous search for a social redemption I see the true Consolation of Reggio.