The most important festival in Naples is the Festa di San Gennaro, in honor of the city’s patron saint. It takes place on September 19 and on that date all schools and other government buildings of Naples, as well as most stores, are closed.
Feast of San Gennaro Naples
The San Gennaro Festival takes place on September 19th, December 16th and the first Sunday in May.
History and description
The feast of San Gennaro oscillates somewhere between faith and superstition. The martyr Ianuario was beheaded in the year 305. A woman collected his blood in two ampoules, which are kept in a vault in the Cathedral of Naples.
Every year on September 19, the ampoules are shown to the public and the saint’s blood preserved in them is liquefied. The sooner this happens the better, because this is seen as a postive omen. Through prayers and loud cheers the blood is encouraged and, when successful, applauded.
The same ceremony takes place on December 16 and on the first Sunday of May.
The ceremony starts begins at 08:45 am. First, the ampoules are brought out. Fifteen minutes later a procession with the Cardinal and the representatives of the Real Cappella del Tesoro di San Gennaro (“Royal Chapel of the Treasure of Saint Gennaro”) begins. At 09:15 a.m., the prayers and homily by the Cardinal begin. Immediately after the miracle is accomplished, 21 cannon shots are fired from the Castel dell’Ovo.