Focara, the Festival of Fire in the Apulia region

Focara, the Festival of Fire in the Apulia region

The focara made of olive branches

One of the most well-known festivals in the Puglia region occurs every year on January 16th when "La Focara" (The Festival of Fire) starts. A small town called Novoli hosts the event, and more than lives up to its nickname of the City of Fire.
 
A huge pyramid of olive branches are put together and stacked so tightly that it could easily support one hundred men. And just as the Festival of Fire has played out over the last 100 years or so, on the first night of the festival; the pinnacle of this pyramid of branches is set ablaze and the bonfire burns like a beacon for 3 days and 3 nights. The festival culminates on January 18th with a salute to the Patron Saint of Novoli - Saint Antonio Abate.
 
Legend says that, although a formal festival began occurring annually in the city of Novoli in 1905, the origins of La Focara date back even further to Byzantine times, when Saint Antonio Abate was still alive.

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