Events16 December 2019

December 21st emotion and tradition for the "Confeugo" ceremony in the heart of Genoa [Video]

The ceremony of the Confeugo takes up an old tradition of the Republic of Genoa, documented since the 14th century but probably dating back even further, still loved and shared as an omen.

Credit Facebook site

Credit Facebook site

On the occasion of Christmas and the approaching new year, the city folk used to pay tribute to the highest authorities of the Republic, wishing them good fortune by presenting them with a trunk of laurel decorated with red and white ribbons; the gift was brought to the Doge on behalf of the population by the Abbot of the People (traditionally the representative of the Val Bisagno). The trunk was then burned here as a further good omen, with those present trying to take home a burning ember as a good luck charm.

Born around 1300, it was celebrated in Genoa, where it sanctioned the alliance between the powers in the city: the Doge, in fact, and the Abbots of the podestesses of Polcevera, Voltri and Bisagno that, over time, had acquired autonomy such as to worry civil and religious authority. With the Confuoco ceremony, the delegations under Genoese power therefore gave a sign of obedience to the Doge and dispelled any doubt. In the western part of Liguria it is officiated in Lusignano d'Albenga, Pietra Ligure, Noli, Savona, Varazze and Arenzano; in the east in Uscio, Recco, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Chiavari, Lavagna and Riva Trigoso. Abolished in 1499 during the French rule, it was restored in 1530 and subsequently suspended again in 1637, before being cancelled altogether at the end of the 18th century, until it was definitively revived in 1923 by the association "A Compagna" to protect the Genoese traditions and it is celebrated on Saturday that anticipates Christmas.

Ever since then, the president of "A Compagna" has played the role of the Abbot of the People, presenting the traditional laurel trunk to the Mayor. The two leaders meet in front of the Palazzo Ducale, following a procession of people dressed in costumes and flag-wavers that first accompanies the Abbot from Via San Vincenzo to Piazza Matteotti. The Abbot greets the Mayor with the historic line "Ben trovòu messe ro Duxe" ('Well-met, Lord Doge'), receiving in reply "Benvegnou messe l'Abbou " ('Welcome Lord Abbot); he then offers the traditional "Confeugo" which is immediately lit, and as the "Campanon do Paxo" (the bell of the Palazzo Ducale, located in Torre Grimaldina) rings overhead, the laurel burns in a strikingly attractive setting.

The ceremony also offers an opportunity for the Mayor and Abbot to voice their thoughts on the "state of the nation", on the current situation and prospects of the city. Neuberger

Latest news

International editions:   English | Deutsch | Russian