In August, an “obsequious bull” kneels before the statue of the Madonna during the celebrations in honour of Santa Maria della Neve (Our Lady of the Snows). According to tradition, on August 5th of 352 AD, Pope Liberius witnessed the miracle of the snowfall on the Esquiline Hill in Rome where soon after he built the Santa Maria Maggiore church.
This tradition retains some ritual elements related to ancient rites of Sabina. Ritual elements that make up the Santa Maria tradition are four: the bull, the furrow, the “Mannocchio” and the “ciammelletti”.
The obsequious bull is a large steer, adorned with bows, which is raised and cared for by the people and trained from an early age to kneel on the morning of August 5 in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary.
The furrow is dug to celebrate the country work and as a pledge of a rich harvest. On the night of August 3 the furrowers leave for Mount Boragine and at dawn begin cutting a beech mast (Biffa) that is transported to the top and is planted as a signal for the beginning of the track of the furrow that goes straight from there up to the village, the entrance to the church.
The “Mannocchio” is a big sheaf of wheat, made of corn harvested in small bunches and girded with a braid of wheat that is carried in procession on the morning of August 5.
“Li Ciammelletti” are sweets that are made by the women of the village and thrown to the crowd from the church wall in the square at the end of the celebrations of the 5th August.
In all these events the people are dressed in traditional costumes.