Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valdesian (Waldensen) Liberation Day, February 17

 
This is a special day for our valley, Chisone, Germanasca and Torre Pellice, as it is home to about 70% of all Protestants in all of Italy, and the spiritual home of the first religious groups to break away from the Catholic church and were persecuted for it, for many long years, centuries actually. 

Prepared  Bonfire ready to light
We can hear the beating of the drums from down in the valley, as they prepare to march in traditional costume to meet their neighbors in the next village and  worship together, afterwards they will eat and drink a few celebratory dishes and generally enjoy the day with frineds and family.
Last night there should have been bonfires recreating the proclamation, granting them citizenship, in 1848, to finally be able to vote and practice their religion out in the open without fear of persecution. It was a long time coming.  Our valleys are known as the Valedesian valleys, from being followers of Waldo of Lyons, he is buried in Torre Pellice and  as they are a bit remote and tucked up into a large expanse of mountainous region that is scarely populated. It may seem inhospitable to some, but it is a beautiful part of the alps and has afforded a life to many in a sometimes harsh enviroment, but one where it's easy to feel close to the heavens and yet grounded here to a land that yields a modest living.  It's a day to celebrate and be thankful for what we have and we are grateful. 
I have a couple of other post about this celebration if you would like a bit more information a pictures click here or a traditional recipe of filled cabbage packets in a broth recipe, click here.
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