On the last Sunday of July, the seaside town of Pescara, on the Adriatic coast, pays tribute to Andrew the Apostle with a huge parade of fishing boats.
This tradition dates back to 1867: as the fishing community prospered, it erected a church and dedicated it to Saint Andrew who, on the banks of the Jordan, met John the Baptist and later became the first disciple and the first apostle.
It was Andrew the Apostle who brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus before the feeding of the 5000.
He’s also the patron saint of singers, spinsters, maidens, fishmongers, fishermen, women wanting to be mothers, gout and sore throats.
Each year, the festivities begin with a morning mass held in Saint Andrew’s Church.
A statue of the saint is carried and followed by the parish priests, local dignitaries, a band and finally the spectators who have been gathered there since the early morning.
The procession makes its way along the river towards the coast, on its way down to the harbour where the boats are waiting.
The band continues to play as the statue is blessed before being hoisted onto a decorated fishing boat.
The procession then continues, this time moving out to sea.
Once the boat is in a central position in the harbour, a laurel wreath is cast overboard in remembrance of all those who have lost their lives at sea.
The fleet then returns to the port and locals disperse for a family feast in honour of the saint.
At midnight, the festival finishes with a spectacular fireworks display that goes on for around an hour.
This year’s Feast of Saint Andrew took place last Sunday, July 28, and attracted tens of thousands of people.