Il Carnevale in Basilicata | Hotel degli Ulivi
2 Mar

Carnival in Basilicata: masked parades and local traditions

Carnival is celebrated in all Basilicata. Every town has its own unique traditions and way of celebrating.
In Basilicata there are a lot of masked parades, some feature animal bells and happen on the day dedicated to St. Anthony the Abbot (Sant’Antonio Abate), on 17 January, that conventionally marks the beginning of Carnival. The Saint is also the protector of domestic animals.
Here is a list of some of the carnivals that happen in Basilicata.

Carnival in Basilicata: a list

The famous masked parade of Tricarico happens on 17 January. At dawn, dozens of people masked as bulls (tori) covered in black and red ribbons, and cows (vacche) covered in white and multi-coloured ribbons, enact the transhumance of a herd on the village streets at the sound of their cowbells.
The Campanaccio (the cowbell), instead, traditionally happens in San Mauro Forte the night leading to the day of St Anthony the Abbot (sometimes it happens during the closest weekend). In contrast to what usually happens in rituals involving bells, in San Mauro cowbells are used to create a regular rhythm.
In Montescaglioso the Carnevalone is the main event, it happens on Fat Thursday. The participants wear a costume made with recycled materials, such as paper, boxes and fabric. The main parade characters are Carnevalone, his wife called la Quaremma and his son called Carnevalicchio, a puppet wearing white dresses and “U’ Fus’” that represents the fate.
Made by local craftsmen, Aliano coloured and horned masks are symbols of demonic and intimidating forces, their Fat Tuesday parade is very noisy.
Finally, “Rumit”, a man covered in ivy, is the main character of Satriano Carnival. The week-end before Fat Tuesday a huge Rumit parade, representing a walking forest, walks through the city alleys.

Basilicata is a beautiful land with strong local traditions.
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Photo credit: Basilicata24