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Abruzzo Lifestyle keeps you informed about Abruzzo and Molise events and traditions.

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Carnival in Abruzzo and Molise – Pagan rituals and Medieval characters

Posted by on in Festivals, traditions and food in Abruzzo and Molise

 Although there is no characteristic mask-figure in Abruzzo, there are still various ritual and propitiatory customs connected with the Carnival. Among these customs we must mention the dances known as "lu saltarello" and the "lacci d'amore", a famous tradition at Sant'Andrea, the smashing of cooking pots and the greasy pole.

In Guardiagrele on the day of the carnival, people dresses in traditional clothes. Men wear a hat with a flower into the band or are dressed as carnival characters: the lawyer, the judge, the professor, the doctor, the captain, the merchant. Local women goes to church dressed in traditional long, black skirts with strips of brighter clothes and aprons, blouses decorated with handmade lace, handmade wooden shawls, and gold pendants.

Carnival in Guardiagrele, Abruzzo

In Schiavi d’Abruzzo, on the Carnival day, also known as “martedi’ grasso”, young men from the village dress up in funny carnival clothes all wearing a huge paper hat representing a bouquet of flowers and roses. These guys are called "Mazzaroni" in local dialect, they stroll the streets of the village singing, playing and dancing a traditional dance called "La Spallata", pushing each other shoulder against shoulder. They goes door to door performing their amusing show and asking for sweets, food and wine.

funny carnival clothes

In Molise Carnival is characterised by an atmosphere that takes back to Pagan rituals and is celebrated in a darker way than in many other regions of Italy where it is characterised by colourful masks, parades, amusing jokes and games. Molise celebrates the Carnival in a deeply symbolic way.

At Carpinone, Roccasicura and Forli del Sannio, the carnival puppet “Fantoccio” is burned at the stake, in the main square of the village where a huge fire burns in front of the villagers.

At Sant'Agapito the “Fantoccio” is thrown off a cliff. At Castelnuovo del Volturno, near Rocchetta a Volturno, a man is dressed as a deer andis eventually caught by a hunter performing ceremonial rituals. At Tutara there is the procession of the devil.

Carnival in Molise - Deer man

The cheese game of Vinchiaturo is something cheerer, in fact men competes in team by throwing large rounds of cheese of 15 km down the streets. This competition is called "Lancio della Ruzzola".

Lancio della ruzzola

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