FEATURES » London Sagra and Procession 2012

London Sagra and Procession 2012


The Italian community gathered as usual around St Peter’s church for the annual Procession in honour of “Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo”, held in the middle of July almost every year since 1896. The procession is the first outdoor Roman Catholic manifestation of faith since the time of Henry the VIII's Reformation and it is now one of the few events of this kind in London.

Thousands of Anglo-Italians and tourists joined the “Sagra” and followed the procession which joyfully moved around the perimeter of the Church.

The “sagra” was introduced in the 70’s by Beppy Giacon and Florindo (Fred) Rizzi to encourage people of the community to participate after the Italians no longer lived in the area. At the beginning, the event was held in the car park, then they obtained authorisation to use the street.

The sagra, as every year, was an authentic Italian delight, blessed by some sunny spells. Among the stalls of Birra Moretti, Amici di Casanova/Valceno, Associazione san Michele Serchia, Associazione Piacenza insieme, OGI, Anglo-Italian family history society, it was possible to assaporate pizza, panini, porchetta and also gelato artigianale offered by Associazione Lucchesi di Londra.

The book on the history of the Italian community “A better life” by Olive Bersagni was also available.

In the frenetic atmosphere of the preparation I had a chat with Mario Zepetelli, who for the last ten years has represented Jesus carrying the cross, but, as he told me with a smile “next year I might have to give up, because of the ‘panza’ ”.

Anna Giacon, secretary of the procession was working as a security guard in front of the church door, holding a heavy stick.

Anna has been involved in the procession since she was 3, she walked in the procession and performed many characters on the floats. Anna told me that the meetings to organize the processione and sagra start 3-4 months before. 50 people, among which a group of youngsters quite recently involved in the Church’s activities came to help the day before.

Peter Bertoncini, Alessandra Tondelli, Sara e Paola Bolognini, Piero Serrini worked all through the week before the event to organize this very successful edition.

Giulia Lombardo

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