St. Lucy is considered the bearer of gifts and, above all, light, which is a key element of the pagan tradition linked to the worship of Mitra and Sun. In the traditional iconography, the Saint is depicted with the martyrdom palm in one hand and a dish with two eyes on the other. These eyes are behind the ancient tradition of making small loafs of bread on December 13th and donating them to neighbors, relatives and friends, as a symbol of union. In the houses, on the windowsills or on the fireplace stone, it’s still in use leaving a lit up tealight with a votive icon of the Saint. The feast of St. Lucy starts the Christmas period and the first bagpipers make their appearance.
Christmas in Campomarino usually began with the fire of the stump: on the occasion of the Christmas holidays, the best stump was burned as a symbol of family union. It was also usual, starting from the feast of St. Nicholas, the mounting of cribs with jury-rigged stuff; the tree decoration was less common. On Christmas’ Eve a severe fast was respected. During the evening there was the traditional dinner with the seven dishes: lentils, beans, chickpeas, broad beans, black cabbage, white rice, maccheroni with not and breadcrumbs, fried bread, cod, sardines and eel. The typical sweets are the Cicerchiata (fried balls of pasta covered with molten honey), the Cauciuni (crescents of shortcrust pastry filled with chickpeas purée and cocoa, flavored with spices, cinnamon and honey), the Peccellati (fried donut with raisins) and the Scrippelle (dough fried into boiling olive oil).
The Association Borgo Antico of Campomarino, since a few years, makes Christmas holidays more attractive with the exhibition of crib works: miniatures and other peculiarities about the most magical moment of the year. Cribs made of different materials, like in the old times, are shown in cellars and streets of the town with colors, music and flavors. There are cribs for all tastes: beautiful, traditional, weird and particular. They come from Molise, but also from Apulia and Abruzzo. The most beautiful event of Christmas in Campomarino begins on the day of the Immaculate Conception: more than 200 cribs are exhibited across a route inside the old walls, where you will be surprised by the passion of people working on them. There are normal cribs but also miniature ones, made inside a shell or a guitar. It’s a tour about Christmas magic, with the tradition ending, house by house, in a true corner of greediness, where old women prepare delicacies and offer mulled wine to visitors. The event lasts from December 8th until January 6th, when an exciting Christmas concert takes place.