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Madonna degli Angeli, Sternatia, Lecce, Apulia, Italy

Commemorated on First Thursday Easter
Madonna degli Angeli, Sternatia, Lecce, Apulia, Italy
The Franciscan friars who built the chapel of the Madonna of the Angels in the 1500s named it for the one in Assisi where St. Francis founded their Order. Although the friars are gone, and part of the church building too, it is still a focus of devotion for the people of Sternatia, about a mile away in the heel of the Italian boot. Behind the stone statue of the Madonna of the Angels on the main altar (right) is a faded fresco of the Virgin held to be miraculous. On the Thursday after Easter, Sternatia celebrates its pasquetta, little Easter, in her honor. After an early mass in Sternatia's parish church, a procession goes to the Madonna's chapel, where another mass is said. In the afternoon, there are festivities with games, music, and the traditional tall greased pole topped with treats. The special food of the day is cuddhure, rings of bread with hard-boiled eggs in the center.   
Photo by Pierluigi Luceri uploaded 20 May 2008 to www.flickr.com/photos/pierluigi/2510178186/.
 
Sources:
 
 
 "Chiesa della Madonna degli Angeli - Sternatia," Edifici Religiosi, www.greciasalentina.org/L_Html/edreligiosid6ba.htm?id=110&class=2
Enrico Melissano, "Una giornata bucolica," Cicloamice Lecce, 13 Apr 2009, www.salento.com/comment/reply/1595
"Sternatia e la Madonna degli Angeli," Il Gallo, 08 Apr 2004, www.ilgallo.org/print.php?sid=344

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