On Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the Purgatory Lunch, a  strictly lean banquet according to the Catholic rules, is served to around 2,000  diners putting an end to the period of frugality.

 

The tradition dates back to the sixteenth century, when the Brotherhood of Purgatory, called at that time “Pious Opera for the suffrage of the souls in Purgatory”, started to organize the event in order to raise funds to help the families in need.
The guests, most of them from the Tuscia area around Viterbo, sit around large wooden tables inside the local wine cooperative, where a lunch prepared according to an ancient tradition is served: white beans, pike, hake, cod and fish soup.

 

Each guest must bring cutlery, bread and wine.
The amount of food is striking, ranging from 250 kg of beans to 600 kg of pike, hake and cod and up to 60 kg of tench. More than 50 quintals of firewood are employed.
On the morning of fat Thursday the ninety members of the Brotherhood in their traditional brown sackcloth, purple hood and short cloack, accompanied by a drummer,  knock the village doors asking for any kind of offers which will be auctioned on the main square in the afternoon in order to purchase the ingredients for the banquet. In the end the brothers will cook and serve the meal themselves.

 

For further information:

 

http://www.comune.gradoli.vt.it/

Municipality:  tel. 0761 456082 – sindaco@comune.gradoli.vt.it
Pro Loco: tel. 0761 456810 -Proloco3@libero

 

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