Ai venti di gennaio ricorre il Santo Sebastiano. It is the beginning of the popular Termoli song sung on 19th January evening along the streets of the town by adult and children groups. The song is about Saint Sebastian’s martyrdom ordered by Imperor Diocleziano, and it ends, as usual in these traditions, with a request of food and drinks: e a gatte c’a còda ricce damme ne ccòne de savecicce; a gatte c’a còda nère pijje u vecäle e damme a bève (the curly tailed cat give us a little sausage, the black taled cat take the mug and give us a drink).
Saint Sebastian is one of the three patron saints of Termoli. The others are Saint Timoty and Saint Basso, the most loved by the inhabitants of the town. Another similar tradition occurs on 16th January, Saint Antony Abbot eve, in the same way groups, singing the saint’s story along the city, wear the monk tunic and with particular musical instruments, sing typical strophes. These strophes go back to the ancient, folk and peasant culture where the Saint represents the good that defeats the evil in the eternal fight against the tempter.
Until about fifty years ago, the food, of the evening of January 19 as well as that of the 16, was derived from a real offertory and was consumed cooked in the house of one of the boys of the group. The advancing food was divided into equal parts among the participant boys and each brought it to home. It was a great part of the food: from the very wanted sausage, which on the coast was scarce, to the fresh and dry fruit (apples, oranges, dried figs, nuts, etc.).
It should be emphasized the great positive to renew a popular tradition, in which to dominate is the need to search food to survive in one of the saddest times of the year cause the climatic point of view.