There are many elements that put together make up the patron saint's festival in Molfetta. A large portion of the harbour area is taken over by stands selling just about everything you can imagine, from clothes to African drums to cheap toys guaranteed to last just till you get them home. There is a carnival with rides and games of skill and chance.
But the key event is the procession that carries the statue of the Madonna of the Martyrs from her home church along the harbour to the main jetty. There she is loaded onto three fishing boats that have been tied together and is carried around the harbour accompanied by anyone and everyone who has some sort of vessel that floats: motorboats, sailboats, jetskis, rowboats, dinghies, you name it. The main objective is to yell and blow your boat's horn as long and loud as you can.
On board the three boats carrying the statue are all the friends and family of the boat owners, plus priests, monks, a band and dozens of young men who pass the time by diving off the boat into the fetid waters of the harbour!
The Madonna is led around the port for several hours before the boats dock at the other end and she is lovingly unloaded and carried to the Cathedral where she rests until the following Sunday when yet another procession carries her back home to her own church.
Everyone gets decked out for the event...including the buildings!
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