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The Celestinian forgiveness celebration was inspired by Pope Celestine V, who issued a historical ‘Bull’ as an act of partnership among local populations. Taking place in the city and province of L’Aquila, the tradition comprises a set of rituals and celebrations transmitted uninterruptedly since 1294. Participants walk along with the three main characters – the ‘Lady of the Bull’, the ‘Young Lord’ and the ‘Lady of the Cross’ – symbolizing the traditional values of the celebration: hospitality, solidarity and peace.

  • Inclusive participation in the celebration, also accommodating visitors, has ensured its viability over time.
  • The event has seen an increased number of participants during recent times. In order to assure the solemnity of the event and its rituals a Code of behaviour has been promoted, addressing visitors and participants.
  • The event is a strong marketing tool to promote the city and its heritage, not only during the festival, but throughout the year.
  • The focus on tourism might lead to loss of community meaning and value of the rituals taking place during the celebration.

Collaboration: The festival is organised with the participation of the whole community, including the municipality and private donors. It is a matter of honour to be part of this celebration and contribute to its continuation.

Web Dossier on Intangible Cultural Heritage and sustainable tourism