Tammurriate and a shower of rose petals
The pilgrimage to the Madonna dell’Avvocata occurs every year on Whit Monday. On this occasion, people from all over Campania climb to the top of the Sanctuary, following the tammorre (an old music instrument) rhythm. Generally, the climb takes place on Sunday with a break during the night or at the first light of dawn on Monday. At noon the songs and dances stop, and the Madonna is carried in procession. A dense rain of rose petals is scattered everywhere, and everyone screams Hurray Maria, Hurray !. The party then continues until late at night, and in the octave, the gesture of faith is repeated. In a niche above the main altar is the statue of the Madonna made in the 1940s by some craftsmen from Ortisei; it was blessed and crowned by Pope John Paul II in Rome on April 3, 2002. The tammurriata has ancient origins that date back to the Greek world and the dances of the Campania peoples, such as the Samnites. At the time of the Greeks, dance was considered a gift from the gods through which men could approach divinity and have the illusion of immortality. For the Samnites, the dance was a propitiatory rite linked to the reproductive cycle of the earth. That of the Avvocata differs from the other tammurriate for some characteristics. The players are numerous and play their instruments for many hours. In pairs, the dancers perform the ritual dance, trying to conquer the space of the other dancers with different movements, who can, aided by the sound of castanets or castanets, support the aggressor, or face him. The clash has its climax in the so-called intertwining: a vault with legs that cross between one duelist and another. The ancestral meaning is exact: in nature, opposites come together in a harmonious whole that allows man to live. This dance is a gratitude gesture to the Virgin, who acts as a guarantor, that is, as the “Advocate” of this harmony of opposites, making life easier for the inhabitants of the impassable Coast.
A breathtaking path for trekking lovers
If you leave the town of Maiori via Lama in Casale dei Cicerali, take a mountain path, which becomes more and more sloping as you proceed towards the top of Monte Falesio at 1024 meters above sea level. After a first stop in the locality of Santa Maria, walking for about fifteen minutes, you will come across a spring called by the locals “Water or chestnuts,” which takes its name from the vegetation present. After a short stretch, two branches lead to the Sanctuary: one shorter and more inaccessible, the other longer and more comfortable. Along the way, we reach the Soppressate Grotto, which owes its name to the shape of the stalactites that hang inside it, similar to the typical local salami. Then you arrive at the actual Sanctuary at 866 meters above sea level, made up of three distinct bodies: the Grotto of the Apparition, the Church, and the Monastery.
The celebrations in September and a particular helicopter made available by the Municipality of Maiori
In September, the Marian celebrations are renewed, and Mayor Antonio Capone lives this anniversary firsthand, organizing a particular helicopter together with the municipal administration to facilitate the movement of older people. “To me, as for many Maiorese, the Avvocata Sanctuary represents a place of the soul, where spirituality blends with the divine landscape beauty.” Mayor Capone continues with deep admiration: “I am linked to this special place by numerous memories, all closely connected to some of our most heartfelt traditions, such as that of the pilgrimage on the Monday following Pentecost: a centuries-long devotion, in which paganism and Christianity intertwine. Or, again, the Feast held during September, a recurrence deeply felt by the elders of Maiori. They keep their faith and sense of belonging alive by participating in the solemn mass and preparing lunch, which my administration has always supported. Which contributes to facilitating helicopter transport for the elderly faithful”. Giuseppe Primicerio, mentioned above, recalled in his texts the priority to favor the expansion to the cult of a site so renowned in the vast territory that includes the Amalfi Coast. Such places are Agro Nocerino Sarnese, Valle Metelliana, and the Salerno, addressing radically and definitively the problem of making access to the hermitage easier and more comfortable. Well, today, after several years of waiting, some essential pieces have finally been added, and Mayor Capone declared: “I believe it is necessary to implement the use of this site of enormous religious, cultural and naturalistic value. This is why I worked hard to support the Campania Region project for the redevelopment of the Sanctuary square, as well as in the planning of concerted interventions with the Monti Lattari Mountain Community for the cleaning and safety of the path. I hope that more and more pilgrims, visitors, and tourists will be able to experience the unique emotions that the journey to the Sanctuary of the Avvocata offers and appreciate the divine beauty of a place without equal”.