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Ritual of the Faglia
From: 2013.12.24 To: 2013.12.24
Christmas Eve in Oratino, Italy is all about La Faglia, a 12 foot long bundle of reeds measuring 3 feet in diameter. This pagan wintertime fertility rite still burns under the guise of Christianity when the Italian town lights the giant flaming torch for all to behold. The townspeople have spent all autumn collecting, stealing and hording the reeds much to the despair of the local farmers and landowners. In fact some have resorted to armed guards to protect their reeds from ending up in La Faglia. The monstrous torch is lit after a blessing from a priest, and the flame is a powerful light in the darkest time of year. The flame is carried through the dark streets of the city on the shoulders of anyone willing and able, and laid to burn in the yard of the largest church in town. By dawn on Christmas Day, the sweet embers are still smoking. While most scholars agree that the tradition represents the custom of people to light up the dark nights of wintertime, others argue that it was an initiation test to ensure the boys were strong and sharp enough to get the reeds. Indeed, to this day, the boys who collect enough make fun of the townsmen from whom they stole the reeds.