The Midsummer Night

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On Thursday, August 15 at the latitude and longitude of the island of Ischia the sun will rise at 6:16 a.m. and will set at 20:04 p.m. The day will last about 14 hours and the night around 10. If you could “do something crazy” twice a year rather than once as warned the Latins, according to whom “Semel in year licet insanire”, choosing the dates of Dec 31, the last day of the longest night of the year, and August 15 with the shortest night.

But while the first is the coldest the second is the hottest. It is impossible to sleep in the night of August 15, that one of Ferragosto’s Day, the midsummer night, in a place like the island of Ischia. It will be a full moon night and the sky will be full of stars. The temperature will be high and so hundreds of young and old people will spend the night of August on the beaches of the island with a breakfast bag and swimming at midnight in hot water. All the hotels and restaurants for all their guests will organize special dinner enlivened by one or more musicians and so in the villas and in the homes of the islanders and vacationers. It is a special night in which it is lawful to do “something crazy” but always within the limits of the permissible, the civil, and good taste.
On August 15 the island celebrates the feast of Mary’s Assumption into heaven for the Catholic Church. “The Assumption into heaven, in body and soul, of the Virgin Mary” was defined as a dogma of faith by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, in the Holy Year. This universal solemnity engages in the Eastern tradition that celebrates on the same day the “Dormition Virgnis” and already in Rome in the VII century was celebrated the “Dormition” with the Marian feasts of the “Nativity”, the “Purification” and “Annunciation”.
The seventeenth century - the century of the Reformation and also that of the Catholic Counter-Reformation - also produced on the island of Ischia its effects. Raise 12 brotherhoods 10 of which were built under the patronage of the Virgin - as says historian Giovanni Castagna - and even the Cathedral Church of the Diocese located in the village of Celsa today Ischia Ponte is dedicated to the Assumption.
So the Assumption is celebrated in Ischia Ponte, in the Village of Celsa, in the little church of Pescatori beach where there is a statue of the Child-Madonna.
In the small town of Lacco Ameno which has an area of 2.07 km2 there are currently 6 churches open for worship and a chapel belonging to the Calise-Piro family. In the eighteenth century the churches were even 8. The brotherhoods or covens are two - one of San Rocco and Pio Monte of S. Anna and Mary Assumed into Heaven. Both are located in what is still called ‘Lacco di sopra’ compared to the Marina area called ‘Lacco di sotto’. The two churches are about 200 meters apart while the establishment of the Congregation of St. Anna dates back to 1542 and that one of Maria Assunta dates back to 1684.
The festivities in honor of the Assumption of Mary began with the last Sunday of July with the enthronement of the statue of the Assumption dated back to the first half of the eighteenth century and was purchased by the congregation in the early years of 1800s.
The Administration of the congregation, which has about 200 brethren, is formed by “prior”, Nunzio Calise and “assistants” Aniello Silvio, Tommaso Patalano, Ambrogio De Siano, Vincenzo Morgera, by auditors Aniello Monti, Crescenzo Calise, Restituta De Luise, treasurer Giuseppe De Siano and secretary Silvestro Fiorentino. They give continuity to a centuries-old witness of faith and social participation in the spirit of the Founding Fathers of the association who had distinguished directors including doctor Venancio Marone (1797-1859), whose mortal remains rest in the church. Marone has left a ‘memory containing a brief account of the island of Ischia’ of 1847 that remains a fundamental work in the historiography of the island of Ischia. To Venancio Marone are dedicated two roads on the island: one in the City of Ischia and other in Lacco Ameno.
Between the beginning and the end of the festivities, the program also involves cultural commitments and musical evenings. The highlight is at 24 with the show of fireworks at sea on the cliffs of the marina. The fireworks can be seen not only from Lacco Ameno but also from the main Borbonica road between Casamicciola and Lacco.
The Midsummer Night dedicated to the Assumption inside the scenario of Lacco Ameno becomes magical in the air of mystery of the Ascension.

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029

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