CARNEVALE IN MOLISE CARNIVAL IN MOLISE At Carnival time different types of ceremonies are performed in Molise. In many towns the Carnival climax is signed by the trial of the fantoccio or Carnival puppet which embodies the feast. On Shrove Tuesday, after a time of glory, it is publicly burnt or destroyed like the ‘king’ of the Roman Saturnalia. Until a few decades ago carnival rituals representing the months of the year were widespread in our region. The month of February, usually so cold and dark, represents the end of an old cycle just as spring is the beginning of a new one. It was natural that this passage from winter to spring, received special attention in the peasant civilization whose subsistence was tied to the cycle of the seasons . The twelve months are still represented at Cercepiccola and Bagnoli del Trigno. Other characteristic celebrations are ‘ The Mask of the Brigand’ occasionally performed in Campobasso and in some villages and the events of ‘The Deer Man’ and of ‘The Devil’.
CARNEVALE IN MOLISE CARNIVAL IN MOLISE <ul><li>I MESI A CERCEPICCOLA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>THE MONTHS AT CERCEPICCOLA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I MESI A BAGNOLI DEL TRIGNO </li></ul><ul><ul><li>THE MONTHS AT BAGNOLI DEL TRIGNO </li></ul></ul><ul><li>LA MASCHERA DEL BRIGANTE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>THE MASK OF THE BRIGAND </li></ul></ul><ul><li>L’UOMO CERVO </li></ul><ul><ul><li>THE DEER MAN </li></ul></ul><ul><li>IL DIAVOLO DI TUFARA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>THE DEVIL OF TUFARA </li></ul></ul>
I MESI A CERCEPICCOLA THE MONTHS AT CERCEPICCOLA The pageant of the "months" was introduced to Cercepiccola at the end of the eighteenth century. It is usually held on the last Sunday of Carnival and consists of a parade of allegorical characters. They are thirty-two and represent the twelve months of the year, a grandfather, a father, the century, the seasons, two Pulcinella characters, two rag collectors (the poor people), a master of ceremonies, an orchestra conductor and eight orchestra players The performers are all male, dressed in various costumes. All ride richly adorned horses, with the exception of the "month of May", the "orchestra players" and the "rag collectors" who ride donkeys. The first to appear are the two Pulcinella characters who go through the streets of the town at daybreak to announce the celebration, then they move on into the outlying districts and the nearby villages. The event lasts the whole day, starting at 10 am and regularly recurs for four times in four different points of the village. The verses of the song have been handed down orally from generation to generation.
I MESI A BAGNOLI DEL TRIGNO THE MONTHS AT BAGNOLI DEL TRIGNO The Carnival of the 12 months of Bagnoli del Trigno is part of the propitiatory rites, which tend to wish a good land harvest. Wagons hauled by animals are allegorical and depict the seasons of the year, with their agricultural activities: the wheat harvest, the grapes harvest… The exhibition presents extravagant characters who partly come from historical and social figures and partly from fairy tales. They sing dialectal songs. One of them entitled “Sanghe de Serinella” talks about “Francische lu giulliere”, the character of the feast, a kind of local “Pulcinella”. He is supposed to be the real Carnival and assembles the Months, according to the peasant point of view. The event ends with the destruction of the Carnival puppet, a symbolic act to leave behind the misfortunes of the year just passed. When the puppet is completely burnt, the new agricultural year starts.
LA MASCHERA DEL BRIGANTE THE MASK OF THE BRIGAND “ The mask of the Brigand” is typical of Campobasso. Its representation recalls an event of three hundred years ago concerning a rich gentleman. He was frightened by the threats of some bandits and to have his life spared, he was forced to give them his purse full of silver and golden coins. In the plot there is the love story between a gipsy and the head of the brigands. The provocative ways of the young girl conquer and deceive the gentleman who loses both his money and the hope of love.
L’UOMO CERVO THE DEER MAN Castelnuovo al Volturno, in the province of Isernia, becomes the stage for the Mask of the Deer Man . This ancient carnival is based on an epic struggle of redemption between a deer-man and the forces of good, represented by St Martin and a hunter and on ancient propitiatory hunting rites. The mime show starts with the tinkling of several cowbells coming from the mountain. The Deer’s arrival is announced by the “ Janare ”, witches with long hair and by the pipers who, with their traditional melodies, close the so called ‘sound season’ started before Christmas. The antlered beast is played by a local man dressed as a deer, with black-painted face and hands and chest adorned with cowbells. He roams around the town looking for food and breaks into the square destroying everything. A Deer-woman comes on stage and starts to court him. The whole village is scared. Martino immobilizes the animals but they free themselves and restart to terrify people. A hunter kills them but then he revives them by blowing in their ears. The deer get up again and go away. This resurrection counts as a purification for the beast and the whole community.
IL DIAVOLO DI TUFARA THE DEVIL OF TUFARA The so-called ‘Devil’s Masquerade’ is celebrated at Tufara in the province of Campobasso. This event, made of ancient propitiatory rites, occurs every year on Fat Tuesday. The celebrations begin in the early afternoon with merry bands of painted and masked musicians prancing through the streets, playing their instruments and singing. Meanwhile, elsewhere in town the devil, two messengers bringing sickles (the symbol of death) and three monks that keep them chained and under control, start to parade. The devil is covered with seven black goatskins and wears a horrible black mask with horns and a long red tongue. He continuously hits the stones of the streets with his iron hay-fork. They spread chaos and confusion around town, raiding kitchens for food and mocking bystanders. These raids continue until the late afternoon when the carnival is put on trial at the castle rock. The carnival, represented by a straw puppet, is convicted. Then a platoon of soldiers "execute" the puppet by firing several shots into it. The body is then flung down to the devils, who tear it to shreds between them and scatter its remains through the countryside