Ceremony of the Liquefaction of the Blood of San Gennaro
On one of the most important days in the city, thousands of devotees crowd into the Duomo, Naples Cathedral, to witness the miracle of the liquefaction of the blood of their protector and Patron Saint, San Gennaro. Shrouded in myth and superstition, the liquefaction is a religious ceremony that dates to the late 1300s.
According to legend, San Gennaro’s blood was collected by a pious women after he was decapitated in 305 AD and it was conserved in two glass vials. Three times a year these vials are removed from a safe in the Duomo and a procession moves the bust of San Gennaro and the vials of blood to the high altar of the Cathedral. The miracle of the liquefaction is considered a good omen for the city and is welcomed by prayers, thanks and applause and announced to the city by 21 cannon shots fired from Castel dell’Ovo.
The event is repeated on September 19th, December 16th and the first Saturday before the first Sunday in May, as well as on special occasions such as for visits of prominent persons, or threats from natural disasters.