carnival and transhumance

In Tricarico, in southern Italy, the carnival starts, every year,  at the crack of dawn of 17th of January, in the day of Saint Anthony the Great. The procession of the masks, considered anthropological masks, is accompanied by massari, sottomassari and vaccari (people who work in the agri-pastoral world) and by men who act as cows and bulls. This carnival is an echo of the rural world, it is the carnival of the transhumance. Carnival is here transhumance, transhumance of humans who interpret the seasons, the cyclic time of life and earth. The herd of ox-men, with cowbells  hanging on their necks, cut through the suspended time of carnival to celebrate the alternation of life and death, to celebrate the return of a new time. The carnival, expression of the circular time, intangible heritage, is a ceremonial form characterized by an intimate space of devotion and the staging  of fun and drama, individual and collective. In Tricarico,  Arab Norman town, we can still find the myth, the sacred and the man. A herd that walks, an orderly transhumance, a transhumance of music. The carnival is the time of  desire, of the body, of hope.  Carlo Levi in occasion of Tricarico’s carnival  said: “Late at night, the town was awaken by an archaic sound: beats on hollow wooden instruments, like cracked bells, the sound of a primitive forest, which came into the bowels as an infinitely remote call; and both, men and animals, climbed the mountain up to the chapel on the top. Saint Anthony, this Prometheus farmer, the inventor of fire, taming of animals and cultures, was the ancient divinity of the rural world, the creator of its own origins that established himself on the tops, where the towns are guarded , in Christian churches that had then become his sacred fences.” Prometheus gave us wings of fire to contain the darkness and to sweeten the disorder. From the storm of the divinities’s challenges, Prometheus wanted to create harmony for human beings. On the earth the trace of fire is marked by the wind that soothes dreads and fears.  Saint Anthony, the hermit, wanted to challenge the flames of hell relieving from their pains those who met him. (2014-2019)

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