The faithful in Naples gather three times a years to witness a miracle of the city’s patron saint. On the 19th of September, 16th of December and the Saturday before the first Sunday in May, San Gennaro is said to perform the miracle of the liquefaction of his blood.
The dried blood is stored in two sealed ampoules and exposed to the faithful for veneration. It was collected in 305 after San Gennaro was martyred during the persecution of Christians by Diocletian. According to legend, a woman saved the relic herself until 313, when the miracle occurred for the first time and the ampoules were brought to Naples. The earliest recorded reference to the blood miracle dates back to 1389.
On Saturday, the miracle occurred when the vials were exposed for the third time.
The miraculous change in the blood is seen as a good omen for the people of Naples. Past tragedies have occurred in years when the miracle does not take place, thus Saturday’s event was met with cheers and applause from the emotional crowd of worshippers.