La tavolata di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph table) is organized by “Vignacastrisi Fratres Association” (one of the voluntary blood donors association).
Long tables are laid with many traditional dishes such as pampasciuni (cipollini onions in local dialect), pesce a sarsa (pesce a salsa in Italian, fried fish marinated in stale breadcrumbs, vinegar, garlic and mint) and Ciceri e Tria, better known here as Massa di San Giuseppe (strips of pasta together with chickpeas or cabbages and seasoned with olive oil and cinnamon) which is a must to try during this event.
Domenica delle Palme
This is the Sunday before Eastern.
It is commemorated by the community which recreate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
After the blessing of the palms, taking place in front of the door of the Santissimo Rosario church, a costume procession recreates the path taken by Jesus on a donkey, cheered by crowds holding palm branches.
August – Festa dell’orecchietta
This festival has been held in Vignacastrisi since 1991 and takes place in the first week of August.
Delicious orecchiette and other traditional dishes are prepared by the skilled hands of the local massaie (the housewives working in the Salento old manor farms, called masserie) and offered to visitors, who, at the same time, can sip our wine and enjoy the traditional music played by our local musicians.
– Festa della Madonna del Santissimo Rosario
Vignacastrisi has its patronal festival on 7th October. It is the most awaited religious four-days celebration in honour of the Virgin Mary.
During the celebrations the village is entirely decorated with festive lights, live music events take place in the evening, food and market stalls cheer the streets up.
The tradition has it that the festival celebrations begin on Thursday.
On this day the Festa del Maiale (pork festival) is organized in the square of Vignacastrisi.
Here you can taste traditional dishes such as roast meat and enjoy live traditional music.
On Friday and Saturday morning, what takes place is purely religious.
Among the several religious events, the most relevant one is the procession.
The statue of the Virgin Mary is carried by the pilgrims through the village streets and every house opens its doors and turn all the lights on in respect of the passage of the Virgin Mary.
Finally, on Saturday and Sunday evenings, the most popular bands usually provide the musical accompaniment to the evening.
In the presepe vivente (living nativity scene) of Vignacastrsi more than 120 characters participate in the construction of 30 living nativity scenes.
The participants are dressed in traditional costumes and perform the miraculous birth of Jesus acting in a setting which reproduces glimpses of everyday life in Bethlehem.
The ancient houses of the Borgo Antico (the medieval part of the village) host scenes, where characters perform traditional ancient trades such as those of merchants, smiths, basket makers, washerwomen, dyers, joiners, milkmen,
shoemakers, potters, women working at the loom or teasing the wool, housewives and shepherds.
And, finally, characters perform the Holy Family scene and the scene taking place in the magnificent luxurious Herod’s Palace.
The suggestive path finally leads to an ancient courtyard house, where, in an old stable dug in a tuff grotto, you will find the Baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph breathed on by ox and ass.
The Presepe vivente in Vignacastrisi involves 300 volunteers in its realization each year.
It is organized by the “Parabola a Sud” Cultural Association and is one of the most suggestive among the similar events taking place in the Salento.
The event attracts more than 15000 visitors each year.