An Ancient Superstition

a tale by popular tradition


In 1500 there was in Naples, on  Ottocalli Square, a church dedicated to Saints John and Paul. The road was wide and free of buildings or houses.

In the middle of the road and right in front of the church, there was a marble column,  whose meaning or  origin nobody kew.

A meaning, however, was found by the locals, who, supported by the parish priest, attributed to the column a special power:  the one of causing rain or fine weather depending on the needs and demands of the people.

A superstition, but it went on for quite a while, till  Archbishop Annibale of Capua  banned it with a measure of 1590 and made even demolish and remove the column, so preventing any possibility of revival of the incredible superstition.

This is the custom of the Neapolitans. When farmers wanted some sun for  their fields and the weather, however, was not fine,  they went to the pastor of the church of St. John and Paul and asked him to organize a votive procession for obtaining a grace from heaven.

Then the pastor with all his followers  and citizens, ran from the right side around   the column and stopped  there to pray. Shortly after that, the sky got clear, the clouds disappeared and a bright sun  was shining in the sky with great joy of the Neapolitans.

If the request was for rain, being too hot and  crops ruined, the procession moved to the opposite direction, going around  from the left side  at  the sea side, they  told the planned prayer, and soon after it was pouring.


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