Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Italians Take to Streets in Celebration of Their Culture

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Italians Take to Streets in Celebration of Their Culture

Article excerpt

A recent Madonna del Rosario procession A VIVID legacy of Manchester's Little Italy will wind its way through the city's streets this weekend.

Since 1890 the Madonna del Rosario procession has been held every year - a colourful celebration of religion and culture.

The only years it did not happen were during the First World War and from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, when many respected local Italians were interned after Mussolini sided with Hitler's Germany.

The procession was born out of the creation in 1888 of the Manchester Italian Catholic Society, the result of a local priest's desire to form a dedicated group to support and educate Italian families living in the city.

Families had moved - mainly from Lazio and Campagna - to find jobs in Manchester's booming cotton mills and industrial workplaces.

Archive pictures provided by Tony Rea of the Manchester Italian Association trace the history of the parade over nearly 130 years.

Tony said: "In the late 1800s there was an influx of Italian immigrants from the north and south of Italy to the district of Ancoats near Manchester city centre, an area which was later to become known as Ancoats' Little Italy.

"Back in their homeland almost every city and village had a patron saint and a special day to celebrate them. When the Italians took part in their first Whit Friday procession in 1890 it must have seemed like home from home.

"The procession, which later became known as the 'Festa Della Madonna Del Rosario', is headed by men from the Italian community who carry a statues of the Madonna adorned with white lilies, The Calvary, St Anthony and banners. Women walk in Italian dress and children who have recently taken their First Holy Communion also take part.

"The procession has been running nearly continuously from the end of the 19th century, through the 20th century and now into the 21st century. …

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