Mata e Grifone


                                                The Legend

Mata and Grifone for the good people of Messina are, for centuries, the founders of the city and also the tutelary genes of the same. Indeed the Giant represents the foreign element that came to found Messina, and that from the village Camaro had to draw the bride. Want the legend, (but is it not history?) That a giant Moor named Hassan Ibn Hammar, landed near the city around 970 d.c. with about fifty of his fellow pirates, he proceeded to plunder and raid all around and in particular between Camaro and Dinnammare or Antennammare (names derived from Ibn Hammar). One day during one of the usual raids he saw a graceful and ruddy girl named Marta (in dialect Matta or Mata) daughter of Cosimo II of Castellaccio, who fell madly in love. She was a noble and rich house, of a very tall and strong figure, but equally virtuous and chastised, so as to be solid and convinced in the Christian religion. Hassan Ibn Hammar asked her in marriage and obtained the refusal he began to plunder and slaughter with a greater ferocity than before. The girl's parents, frightened by so much bloody fury, hid her in their possessions. But in the day the Moro ended up discovering the shelter and kidnapped it. Some historians make mention of a little plausible sword tournament, which the Moro defeated, the girl's father, thus obtaining the hand. However, it is the fact that in vain he begged her and begged her to return his love. Now with fury and now persuasive, now filling her with gifts, and now begging her of necessity, she did everything to be riamare. Mata, deaf to all enticing, finds strength and spirit in prayers and remains frozen in forced embraces. So in the end the cruel Saraceno, for the sake of her became Cristiano, changed his name to Grifo (griffin for his high stature) receiving baptism, hanging his sword to the nail and devoting himself to the cultivation of the fields, in harmony and peace with all. The caste Mata moved and admired for that repentance, was also taken of love for him (which by the way was also a handsome man) and agreed to marry him. Together they did so many things, so many children and so many houses, so numerous that the popular tradition ended up giving them the foundation of the city. Legend has it that these two giants were taken prisoner by Roger the Norman when he freed Messina from Arab domination. He also wanted the two prisoners to follow him in the parade and to witness his humiliated triumph. This custom is repeated in the following years in various ways, until it reaches the current tradition in which the two statues, the 10/13/14 August each year, are conducted in Camaro, birthplace of Mata and then, walking through the cities, dragged by numerous people in popular dress, are made to stand in front of the Town Hall of Messina.








For further information:

President: Orazio Grasso
Address: Via Portone Militare, 25  - 98145 Bordonaro (ME), Messina, Italy
Mobile: +39 347 1811973

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