The most wacky holiday of the year has its roots in an earlier period than the birth of Christianity. It was, in fact, celebrated in honor of the god Saturn, deities linked to the regeneration and technical dell’agricoltura. This is why the consideration of our Carnival celebrations were at the time called “Saturnalia”, during which occurred a real social revolution, where slaves could be momentarily free and celebrate as if they were real. The etymology of the name is Latin and derives from “Carnem levare” that is to remove the meat, because from the first of Lent Wednesday until Holy Saturday, including every Friday, should not be eaten the meat.
Later in the medieval period , Carnival began to take its current appearance, as it was made up of dancing, singing and merrymaking, they could not be restrained even by the ecclesiastical powers, since the nobles supported such festivities in their houses and in their royal palaces and set out to set up a joyful atmosphere, far away from the monotonous daily life. Thanks to the support of these people, the Carnival had increasingly spread enough to influence and become the main source of inspiration of the Commedia dell’Arte, which brought on the stages of the most famous theaters in both the masks, is the language of most social strata downs. Each mask is born as an emblem of Italian cities: for example Pulcinella is the most famous of Naples, Harlequin symbol represents the city of Bergamo, Pantalone is the typical mask masks Venezia.
In Abruzzo, however, are three: Frappiglia, poor farmer and hungry, who managed to cheat the devil for a plate of pasta; Punch Abruzzo, symbol of the cyclical nature; Patanello, a mask that is inspired by a real character between ‘800 and’ 900, which was nicknamed “Zi Patanè” and was a lover of booze and taverns.
The Abruzzo Carnival is very different from the more famous that are celebrated in other Italian regions and, in some ways, reminiscent of those of the Basque Country, alpine valleys of Piedmont and Sardinia.
When it’s Mardi Gras, the towns and villages of Abruzzo revive old customs whose origin is lost in the mists of time: the bonfires light up the squares and the burning of puppets heated tempers, while the streets are colored masks and magnificent floats allegorical cartapestai created by local masters. And these are just some of the attractions of a suspended ritual between tradition and transgression, where the farce is the host, not sparing even the specter of death. In some countries, in fact, they bring in fake funeral scene with a lot of extras dressed in mourning. And why be surprised? After all, to put it all’abruzzese, Carnival ogne pranks worth
The absolute stars are the dances, such as the Saltarello or that of woven pile, in which the dancers move rhythmically around a pole, wrapping and stripping it of colored ribbons. The carnival song and that of the Month, otherwise known mesciarule, contributing to the atmosphere of unbridled fun. Not to mention the deafening parades whose participants stir the pots with a hole in the middle, the so-called Caccavelli, shouting “fora fora Carnuvale”.
How can we forget the Carnival died of Montorio al Vomano? The custom to play down the day of the Ashes by staging the funeral of the King “old fool” is remembered even by D’Annunzio and, to this day, comes back with the same mocking spirit, to the delight of adults and children alike. The dead king, played by a puppet or a local man, ready to “sacrifice” to keep the tradition alive, it is carried through the streets of the village, followed by a procession of masks dressed in mourning. Take part in the joke is the town band, filled to the music of irreverent fun, alternates funeral marches that give a semblance of truth to the joke. Because everyone here wants to join in a heartfelt and unanimous manifestation, capable of carrying locals and tourists on a fantastic journey between laughter and folklore.