There are just a few hours left for the feast most awaited by the people of Termoli: from 3 to 5 August the city is in turmoil for the celebrations in honor of San Basso, patron of Termoli.
The origins of this tradition date back to the distant 1791, the year in which, during the restoration work in the Cathedral, a sarcophagus was found containing the relics of the Saint. The celebrations begin with the usual procession to the sea on August 3, when the coastal fishing boats welcome thousands of devotees and curious on a short "cruise", offering guests tasty appetizers, in a festive atmosphere. The procession recalls the discovery of the sarcophagus containing the relics of the saint at sea, by local fishermen. It is in fact a tradition deeply felt by fish operators and their families.
Beyond the legend, history takes us even further back in the centuries, up to 1200 AD. when, due to the Saracen invasions, the bishop of that time hid the remains of the saint in the crypt of the Cathedral, renamed "Grotticella di San Basso" to prevent them from being sacked by the barbarians. This is how every year, on August 3, the statue of San Basso leaves the Cathedral to be carried on the shoulder to the port and embarked on a fishing boat, drawn by lot in the previous days. Bringing the saint by boat is the desire of every Termolese sailor: San Basso is in fact considered the protector of fishing. The boat drawn for the occasion is festively decorated and sails from the pier followed by dozens of boats. The procession runs through the strategic points of termoli: Rio vivo, Sant'Antonio and, once offshore, a wreath of flowers is thrown into the water as a tribute to the Saint. The procession returns to the port after the suggestive sound of the sirens of all the fishing boats present at the procession. During the night the statue is left at the Fish Market, a place chosen in honor and in homage to the fishermen.
In the afternoon of August 4, the statue is brought back to the Cathedral and at midnight the second phase of the celebrations begins, with a fireworks display financed by the donations of the devoted fishermen. The fireworks, which attract tens of thousands of visitors to the city, illuminate the waters and skies of the port and beach of Rio Vivo, to the south. Here the tradition of bonfires on the beach has been alive for years, where local young people organize real dance parties that last until dawn. Every self-respecting Termolese, you can swear to us, feels the tradition and devotion to San Basso alive. Between legend and superstition, no Termolese ventures into the water on the day of the procession: "star-shaped" (as indicated in the maritime tradition on August 3), they tell you since childhood, you do not swim in the sea because it is very strong the risk of drowning.
The party ends on August 5, the day on which the performance of well-known singers or musical groups is expected, usually in the port square. If you've never been to Termoli for the three days dedicated to the patron saint, it's time to make up for it. You will not regret it!