ArboReal. The Maypole Day


Accettura (Basilicata, southern Italy). A celebration of an ancient arboreal rite, the Maypole Day, takes place every year in the spring. The nature meets the human being and makes him part of its rebirth. The human being thanks the nature by returning a symbolic union, a marriage between trees. On the Pentecost day this promise is renewed and this is how two trees, a Turkey Oak (the bridegroom, called Maggio) and an Holly (the bride, called Cima), are taken from the forest by oxen and men and transported to the town. The traditional name of this event is Saint Julian's May (Il Maggio di San Giuliano) and it belongs to the intangible heritage. The phases of the May's feast are anthropologically complex. There is music, food, wine and prayer. The rules, like in a carnival, are subverted, order leaves room for disorder and silence for noise. Everyone succumbs to individual and collective sacrifice, to his own darkness and light. The sacred and the profane alternate in a circular motion here. When Maggio and Cima are ready they are united by an implant in the town square and they are raised and climbed by the most capable men. Considered by UNESCO one of the "Most beautiful Mediterranean feasts" among the "Les fêtes du Soleil", it helps in the tensions between local and global worlds and provides an opportunity to talk about ritual, tradition, community in the contemporay ages again. (2012 - ongoing)


This project is an excerpt from the ethno-anthropological research: Il culto arboreo del maggio di accettura. Antropologia e narrazioni visuali.

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