In this video, you see several elements of the feast of the Madonna dell’Arco. You will notice the presence of the fujénti, a Neapolitan word which literally means “the ones who come”. These are people who have received miracles from the Madonna, who now make a pilgrimage to her sanctuary in honor of her feast day. They dress in all white and wear two bands: one blue and one red, in honor of the colors of the Madonna’s mantel. The fujénti are occasionally so overcome by the presence of their patron, that they will drop to the ground and convulse in front of her. A special police force, seen in green, maintains order during the festival.
In this video, you see two women dancing the tammurriata, a ritual dance performed in celebration of the various Black Madonnas of Campania. The tammurriata is led first by the voice, which improvises lyrics according to a vast traditional repertoire. The voice is followed by the drum, which matches lyrical patterns to a set of rhythms. The drumming then inspires the dancers, who add to the percussion both visually with their bodies as well as audibly with their castanets.
Oh Pious Queen Dell’Arco,
provider of so many favors.
Your beautiful pupils bow
on your children who ask you mercy.
You are the only hope of the hearts
that, groaning, sigh to you.
O Dell’Arco Pietosa Regina,
dispensiera di tanti favori.
Le pupille bellissime inchina,
sui tuoi figli che chiedon mercè.
Tu sei l’unica speme dei cuori
che gementi sospirano a te.