The Italian post issued a stamp belonging to the thematic series “the Italian folklore” and dedicated to the rites of fire – “Ndocciata of Agnone”.
Ndocciata is an ancient Christmas festival celebrated in Molise, southern Italy, specifically in the city of Agnone. On the evening of December 24 the “Ndocciata” of Agnone is a parade of a great number of “‘ndocce” (torches), structures with a typical fanwise shape, made of silver fir pinewood pallets.
They may be only one torch or, more often, with multiple torches up to twenty fires. 4 meters high, “‘ndocce” are transported by different carriers dressed in traditional costumes.
The big bell of St. Anthony’s Church is rung, and groups from the cities’ districts consisting of hundreds of carriers of all ages, light their “ndocce” to set off along the main streets which thus becomes what locals call a “river of fire.”
There is a choral participation and bagpipers along the roads of the village, and groups compete in order to have the biggest and the most beautiful “‘ndocce”. The procession ends with a bonfire called “Bonfire of Brotherhood” at Plebiscite Square where a Nativity scene is displayed.
The stamp features a moment of the procession with the bearers of torches having the tower of the Church of St. Anthony in the background. On the top right of the stamp a figure of carrier with a typical hood is illustrated.