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Life in Abruzzo. Events and Traditions.

This blog promotes life style in Abruzzo and Molise regions. Events, festivals, traditions and many others interesting, funny and useful tips about Abruzzo and Molise.

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 A suggestive festival is held every year in Agnone, in Molise region; the festival is called La N’docciata and it takes its origin from the pagan rite of the fire. In the past, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, the shepherds of this area used to build big torches made of wood. The roots of the festival go back even before the time of the ancient Romans. This area was the home of the Samnite tribes.

Traditional Christmas festival in Agnone, La N’docciata

The torches had a conic hard wood structure filled with brushwood. This type of structure allowed the shepherds to carry the torches on their shoulders when they had to walk in the countryside during the night. The structure also permitted the fire to burn for long time; therefore, the torches were a source of light and a source of heat for the shepherds during the long, cold winter’s nights. The tradition is also related to the pagan rite of the light.

Long torches, made with slats of fir, dried broom and strings
 

Nowadays, the festival is held twice a year, the evening of the 8th of December that in Italy is a Catholic festivity, and the evening of the 24th of December. This is the traditional date, on the Eve night. The second, the 8th of December, became famous on 1996 when it was performed in Piazza San Pietro for the Pope. La N’Docciata is now a big event, with several dozens of torches carried by men wearing traditional shepherd’s clothes.

Dozens of torches carried by men dressed in traditional costumes

The torches formed by just a single cone are normally carried by teen-age kids. The bigger torches formed by two, three or even fourteen cones are carried by adults. The procession is very impressive.

Ndocciata, an ancient Christmas festival celebrated in Molise, Italy

The torches parade strolls along the main road of the Agnone, from the northern side of the village up to the main cathedral. The closing ceremony is held in Piazza del Plebiscito, where what is left of all the torches end up in a giant bonfire of brotherhood.

La N’Docciata, ritual of fire

The village is all decorated with Christmas lights, Christmas trees and shops adorned for the festivity seasons. La N’Docciata of Agnone is a pagan tradition that nowadays embrace the Christmas celebrations and the winter season. A few years ago, La N’Docciata has been awarded the title of Italian Heritage of Tradition.

La N’Docciata, Italian Heritage of Tradition
Taggati su: Molise traditions
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 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
Visite: 3510

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