On May 8, between religion and folklore, we repeat the ritual of the translation of Saint Nicholas, that took place in 1087 by the famous 62 sailors in their mission from Myra to Bari.
The patronal festival of St. Nicholas, a Saint who unites East and West, is the most expected meeting of the year by all the believers. The portrait of the saint, coming from the sea, lands in the harbor and from there the procession with figures dressed as in the eleventh century starts through the streets of Old Town, the City Center, till the square next to the Basilica of San Nicola.
Ferrarese Square and surrounding streets are decorated with flowers and lights. The parade with caravels, riders, and dramatic scenes, narrates the whole story of St. Nicholas. The following morning the festival starts, however, with a solemn Mass celebrated by the archbishop of Bari.
The statue of St. Nicholas exhibited in Piazza del Ferrarese, is then boarded on a ship that will remain one day long in the sea. The central part of the celebration takes place on the morning of the 8th of May, when in the Basilica of San Nicolas is celebrated a final Mass by the Archbishop of Bari also for the Orthodox believers.
At the end of the Mass, the priests and the believers go to the crypt where is situated the tomb of the Saint. The ceremony ends with the fireworks display.
The next day, the last of this festival, the statue of the Saint comes back to the Basilica.