The San Domenico Luminaria in Praiano
"La Luminaria di San Domenico" represents a famous tradition of Praiano's rich historical and cultural heritage. This celebration takes place annually from August 1st to August 4th at the convent of Santa Maria a Castro, a place of veneration for San Domenico. Devotion to this saint has been passed down since around 1606 when the Dominican friars of Sanità from Naples arrived in this area. The festival is preceded by a triduum during which a suggestive and fascinating tradition takes place.
In recent decades, the Luminaria had lost some of its charm due to the introduction of electricity, which led to the replacement of candles with light bulbs. However, since 2001, the event has returned to its ancient splendors and sees the participation of all citizens. They adorn terraces, windows, gardens, narrow streets, and domes of houses with unique and fascinating wax illuminations. Additionally, young residents of Praiano decorate the San Gennaro square every evening with 2000 candles, creating an enchanting atmosphere.
In past centuries, citizens preserved dried vine branches, trees, and shrubs throughout the year, using them to create "fascine" (bundles of sticks) that were then burned in gardens during the Luminaria. They also kept tin and glass jars, rags, rancid oil, and lard to make torches.
The Luminaria holds a very precise meaning: the mother of San Domenico dreamed, before giving birth, of a dog carrying a torch in its mouth that set the world on fire. This dream symbolized the fact that the child would spread the Word of God throughout the world.