St. Basso sea Procession, in dialect San Basse pe’ mar, is the most important festivity of the city and takes place on 3rd and 4th August of each year.
The origin of the celebration dates back in 1761 when, during the restoration work in the cathedral of Termoli, it was found the sarcophagus containing the sacred relics of St. Basso, which had been dispersed for centuries. Around the 1200 a. C., cause the continued attacks from the Saracens, the Bishop to prevent that the remains of the Holy Protector could be destroyed, secreted them in the crypt called Grotticella di San Basso, at the foot of the altar of the Cathedral. But St. Basso Sea Procession recall the legend about the fishermen who found the remains of Saint in the sea, in a marble sarcophagus. This history is undoubtedly a metaphor of the desire to symbolically assign Saint to the good catch and protection against the dangers of the sea.
Each year, on 3rd August , the statue of St. Basso is taken away from Cathedral to be carried to the Port and embarked on a fishing boat selected through a public extraction in the previous days. To host the statue of Saint on the fishing boat is the desire of every sailor. The fishing boat chosen sails from the dock followed by a dozens of other boats full of locals and tourists. To increase the celebration is the boat with the band that plays religious and popular hymns. In the open sea, a flower garland is released into the water and, after the deafening but suggestive sound of the sirens of all the fishing boats at the same time, the procession comes back into the port. During the night the statue is hosts in Fish Wholesale Market, a place chosen for fishermen. All the faithful can go to greet or pray before the next day’s Mass. In the afternoon of 4th August, the statue, with procession, is brought back to the cathedral and at midnight, a magnificent fireworks illuminate Rio Vivo beach.
The devotion in St. Basso is very strong. For respect and homage, or by simple superstition, on 3rd August nobody baths in the sea, because, according to the history, in this day is dangerous. The celebration of St. Basso is accompanied by music in the square (usually three evenings: 3rd, 4th and 5th August), markets and various events organized for the occasion.