SAINT VITUS’ DAY AND THE BLESSING OF THE DOGS
The small town of Positano, pearl of the Amalfi Coast, is famous all over the world for its traditions, in addition to its beauties.
by Annalisa Russo
Every year on June 15 during the Saint Vitus’s celebrations, the yard of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta of Positano, which also keeps the precious silver reliquary bust of the patron Saint, hosts a special event you should experience: the blessing of the dogs.
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June 15, 2021 - The blessing of the dogs in Positano
Saint Vitus: between history and legend
According to the tradition, the martyr Saint Vitus was born in Sicily in a pagan family. When his mother died, his wet nurse Crescentia and his teacher Modestus took care of him. Since that moment, he got closer to God and despite his father’s disagreement and Diocletian’s tortures, he will not forsake the faith.
As Saint Pantaleon, the patron saint of Ravello, near to Positano, Saint Vitus is considered one of the 14 Holy Helpers, a group of Saints venerated especially to cure particular diseases in Italy and abroad. And here is a curiosity: the patron saint of Positano, the small town that enthralled great dancers such as Massine and Nureyev is also considered the protector of dancers.
According to the legend, the imperator Diocletian tried to torture the young Vitus and, among all things, set one or more dogs with rabies on him. These dogs not only didn’t bite Vitus, but they were cured by him. So, because of this legend, the image of Saint Vitus has been associated with that of the dog, the best man’s friend.
The blessing of the dogs
This year the long-awaited event by local people took place in the yard of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta at 12:00, where adults and children with their four-legged friends, dogs of all breeds and sizes, were ready to receive their blessings. What a wonderful experience!
Just before the event began each owner received a small yellow cape for the dog, and as usual the priest used the holy water.
What does it mean to attend this event?
The blessing of the dogs of Positano is a traditional event where its joyful atmosphere will surprise and welcome you. And meanwhile you reach the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, strolling around its alleys, you will see at a certain time a lot of people with their dogs going towards the Church to experience the traditional event.
Visiting Positano during an event like this, will give you the opportunity to experience a really traditional and authentic festival.
- The ferry service Travelmar will allow you to reach Positano in total relaxation avoiding the traffic of the Amalfi Coast. The Church of Santa Maria Assunta which dominates the Spiaggia Grande, is, as a matter of fact, just a few minutes walking from the dock.
For info visit www.travelmar.it
- Really close to the yard of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, just behind his Majestic bell tower, there is the MAR, the Roman Archeological Museum of Positano. Visiting it will take you on a journey into the past, at the time of the Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD. A must- visit if you love history!
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