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The Fire Horse

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Friday, 03 April 2015Hits : 392

Valle Tesino e Tronto - Horse of Fire
"Horse of Fire" immagine di pubblico dominio

The tradition dates the origins of the Horse back to 10th May 1682, the day of the solemn coronation of the simulacrum of the Virgin by bishop Giovan Giorgio Mainardi. The first person who improvised the show was an artificier from Atri, specially called upon for the occasion. He “rode a horse filled with fireworks around the square time and time again whilst throwing rays and other oddities”. The Ripani were so thrilled by it that they repeated the event every year. At the beginning they continued to use a live animal: infact, it is certified that even in 1701 a citizen named Pietro Marenzi brought the show to life riding a real horse.
Later the real animal was was replaced with a pretend one. Originally it was made of wood, and until 1932 was carried on the shoulders of the most robust citizens. Afterwards it was considered more appropriate to equip it with wheels and a shaft and it was towed by volunteers equipped with clothes and protective accessories. In 1994 a new horse in iron sheet, built based on the model of the previous one, took the place of the idolised wooden horse.
In 1682, in Ripatransone, one of the most ancient and unique pyrotechnic folkloristic shows of Italy came to life, the Fire Horse. In memory of what happened, for the first time on May 10th of that year, the date of the coronation of the Madonna di San Giovanni as Patron of the town and Diocese, the Ripani come together every year, on the evening of Sunday in Albis, to recall an event that is much more than a simple firework display. For over three centuries, the “Fire Horse” has been characterized by continuous changes and refinements of characters and peculiarities of this evening time firework show, of civic character naturally mixed with a religious solemnity that moreover represented the input of the most awaited celebration of all. Sunday in Albis starts with the celebration of Holy Mass in the Cathedral San Gregorio Magno’s basilica, the Duomo and the eucaristic celebration is entrusted to the Bishop and since 1972 has been accompanied by the presence of the Madonna di San Giovanni’s Chorus.
After the church service it proceeds to the blessing of the Fire Horse: infact, it is precisely at noon that the animal "exits" its warehouse for the first time. It is accompanied by the Town Band of Ripatransone performing the 23rd March, composed by the master Vincenzo Guarino, and arrives in the Cathedral courtyard; here the bishop is waiting to give it a solemn blessing.
In the evening, public lighting is turned off and the fuse is lit to activate the pyrotechnic performance.

Location : Ripatransone

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