May is back and once again the long-awaited appointment with the solemn celebrations in honor of Santa Restituta in Lacco Ameno, mark the beginning of summer. And that’s the time when the faith of the community of Lacco and Ischia explodes into a carousel of colors, sounds and smells, but especially in a religious fervor that will bring thousands of tourists and residents to visit the Holy Patroness of the Diocese of Ischia.
Amidst the glitter of lights and gaiety of the stalls of sweet stands will alternate with moments of high intensity liturgical folklore events and meetings, taking place starting from May 8, until May 15, 16, 17 18.
A crowd of believers and religious accompanies with moving participation the statue of Santa in procession by sea on day 17, followed by ship and vessels sirens up to Marina of Casamicciola, where the greeting of the bishop is attended. Then the Santa, at dusk, returns to her Lacco Ameno. The following day, May 18, the venerated statue of the Santa parades through the streets of the country between prayers and chants of the faithful on a carpet of flowers left in her transit up to the poignant visit to the hospital, where Santa Restituta brings her message of love and comfort to all those who are going through a difficult time.
And when the last night of the festivities comes, the statue of the patroness is deposed from the throne, people sing the anthem for the last evening in her honor and in the emotion of all those present, greeting the girl: "our Santa Restituta".
Devotion to the Santa has its origin from the Ischia Abitinese martyr venerated in Carthage, cult imported in 429 BC. The thousand year old tradition has always held that the boat is guided by angels landed with the tortured body on an island named Aenaria in a location called Le Ripe, "Ad Ripas", today's San Montano.
The moment certainly more suggestive of the festival is held on the evening of May 16, just in the Bay of San Montano, where is the "Sacred Representation of martyrdom and the landing of Santa Restituta Ad Ripas". A particularly strong event, where thousands of people go to the beach since the afternoon in search of an optimal position to be able to see better what the young devotees have prepared.
And slowly, while a joyful multitude, comes from everywhere, the sky takes on a poignant transparency of sea water over which, to the west, stands a crescent moon with the stars of the evening when blue meets the white sand, the white lilies in green, the spotlights turn on the extreme earthly life of Restituta a silence full of emotion and expectation falls on the people that surround the scene of representation and the review that began over 40 years ago revived the martyrdom of Santa Restituta ........ (cited by emmesse)
The virgin Restituta processed by the proconsul Proclino for refusing to deny her faith in God, is tortured and sentenced to death, carried out on a boat to be burned in the flames. But a divine intervention punishes the persecutors, setting fire to their boat, while the lifeless body of Restituta, led by an angel, reaches the beach of the village of Eraclium in the area called "Le Ripe". The small village was inhabited by fishermen, farmers, potters, merchants and sailors. Part of the population professed Christianity and in particular there was a pious woman named Lucina, totally dedicated to good works of God, so an angel appeared to her in a dream announcing the arrival of the remains of Restituta.
The performance ends with the general emotion of the spectators and players with the excited rush of the people called by Lucina to the beach to receive the body of the virgin that would become their patron forever.
This representation takes place every year thanks to the cultural contributions of Prof. Giovanni Castagna and to the commitment of young people of "Le Ripe Cultural Association". A special mention goes to the deceased Don Pietro Monti, without whom this representation, probably would not have perpetuated, and to Prof. Marta Scandiuzzi for the commitment that has been able to pass even the youngest.
It is the fundamental contribution of the "Committee of the celebrations in honor of Santa Restituta" which, under the patronage of the Municipality of Lacco Ameno, helps organize the festival.
The real stars, however, are the young people of Lacco animated by enthusiasm and devotion that make possible the renewal of an event so important to the island community.