Last year, when I wrote my version of the legend of the pierced mountain (the Madonna was on th mountan here and the Devil challenged her to a duel, punching holes in the mountainside to determine who was more powerful. The madonna won by punching a house sized hole through the mountain.) I annoyed a few people by not taking their legend seriously and I am sorry. It is taken very seriously here and whenever I have raised the question of why the Madonna would travel all the way to a small village in South Italy I have been angrily told that I musn't make fun and it is a serious business. Jokes about the Madonna having unfeasibly large fists have not been well received either.
Last night the village with the hole in the mountain celebrated as it does every July 2nd with a midnight re-enaction of the legend followed by a firework display
Here is the Devil trying to punch a hole in the rock:
Once the Madonna has proved her power there is a torchlit procession from the hole in the mountain back down to the church, followed by a firework display set around the hole. As soon as the display finishes with an extra loud explosive that resonates around the valley, everyone starts to leave. The only road back down to Positano becomes crowded with cars and motorini weaving in and out of the pedestrians, all heading down at the same time.
Most children are forced to have a sleep in the afternoon so that they can stay up late and go to the festa. Along the streets of the village market stores set up for the evening, catering almost exclusively for children: balloons, candy, toys, goldfish and popcorn.
Last year I tried to buy Skye a candyfloss (cotton candy in American English) but for some reason she was terrified of it and ran away screaming. This year I prepared her and she couldn't wait to try a 'pink cloud thing on a lolly stick'. Most importantly for her was the gem she found in the toy stall...a real make up kit that 'really really works Mummy!' She sat with her friend and I watched in horror as they plastered blue eyeshadow and orange glitter onto their faces. She ran around for the rest of the evening looking like a mini transvestite with good dress sense.