This very popular religious ceremony is particularly important in South Tyrol and is connected to a strong patriotic feeling for the Fatherland. It is celebrated on the second Sunday after the feast of Corpus Christi. Bonfires are lit in the shape of the Cross or a heart on the surrounding mountain sides and outline the peaks after dark and a very special atmosphere can be felt everywhere.
This tradition dates back to the XIX century, to the year 1796, when the leaders of Tyrol met in Bolzano to discuss how to push Napoleon’s invading troops out of the country. Sebastian Stöckl, abbot of Stams monastery in present-day Austria, suggested appealing to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to save South Tyrol from the hands of the French. Fires are lit every year on this day in remembrance of the event.