Ogni sette anni. Penitenza e dolore nel XXI secolo


Guardia Sanframondi is an ancient village on the Benevento hills where every seven years hundreds of hooded faithful offers their sacrifice to the Assumption, beating their chests until they bleed for hours with a cork sponge in which 33 pins are planted. Penance, martyrdom, the torture of the flesh, blood: ancestral elements immediately attributable to passages of medieval life seem here evoked and staged. The result is the vivid and raw representation of a dramatic theater of pain in which the "battenti", anonymous characters of a drama that is only apparently foreign to modern consciences, gather in the uncertain half-light of the first light of dawn and, like white ghosts of a distant world, with the singular scourge they dye their candid tunics red. Starting from this reference scenario the paper proposes, on the one hand, to outline a partial historical reconstruction of the penitential practice of the "battenti" with semi-structured interviews carried out on the Sannio territory; on the other hand, the paper offers the opportunity to reflect and question about the contamination and interpenetration between memory, tradition and innovation, which alone allows the ritual to survive.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22804250v12i2p87

Keywords: Popular culture; South; Memory; Penance; Cultural processes

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