Sacred Heart Fires in the Ortles Region
Sacred Heart Sunday in Prato allo Stelvio
On the third Sunday after Pentecost every year, fires of the Sacred Heart are lit on the high peaks throughout South Tyrol and in particularly spectacular fashion around Prato allo Stelvio/Prad am Stilfserjoch. The fires, which are visible at great distances, involve groups of young people and adults, who take considerable trouble to re-enact this centuries-old custom each year, attracting numerous tourists and curious onlookers.
The tradition of the mountain fires actually dates back to pre-Christian times but in 1796, by the time Napoleon's army had reached the Alps, the light of the fires was turned into the Sacred Heart alliance. When faced with the threat of war, the Tyrolean parliament decided to entrust the country to the care of the most holy heart of Jesus in the quest for Divine redemption.