The first sunny weekend in February! It’s been long in the waiting and everything good that could possibly happen this month all came in one extended weekend visit to see La Lachera in Rocca Grimalda (Piemonte). Like many folk-type Carnevale celebrations we’ve gone to in the past, La Lachera is colorfully represented in its group of costumed characters and dance rituals. To learn more about each particular character, visit the link given above (italian and english).
The unique quality of La Lachera means that it never fails to draw a crowd of local families, photographers, and those interested in folk tradition. If you’re trying to figure out the image above – that’s a trampolo (stilt walker). The show goes on no matter what the weather is like, and it’s best to arrive at least a couple of hours in advance for parking close to the village. Another interesting feature is the presence of special guest dancers from a different country (there’s a new group every year). This year’s guests came from French Basque country – the Ataitze from Itxassou.
Music, dancing, tasty farinata hot from the fire and what else…oh yes, a number of canine friends in tow (or towing their owners). Mister B wasn’t all that thrilled about the noise but he didn’t mind getting showered with confetti.
There is no more castle!
I seriously thought the orange orb in a hand would immediately give it away in the previous post, so kudos to the keen reader who guessed Ivrea! The Battle of the Oranges is not in our Carnevale plans but with so many to choose from, it’s hard to go wrong with any of them.
Through my experience I have come to know 3 types of Carnevale:
1. The local costume and/or float parade of any given italian village or city
2. The one-of-a-kind extravaganza based on old tradition, e.g., Carnevale in Bagolino
3. And of course, the most famous of them all – Carnevale in Venice
Now I can another to that list: The Egetmann Parade.
Held only on odd-numbered years and always on Fat Tuesday, Termeno’s carnevale draws an unbelievable amount of visitors as it’s said to be the biggest and the best in the province of Bolzano. Participants are all dudes – yes that would be a HE under the wig and frock – and perhaps it is for this that the collective energy was pushed to excessive testerone levels. We arrived early at around 11am to nab a prime spot for photo ops, then waited for the parade to begin an hour or so later. Food booths did brisk business selling krapfen, beer, wine, panini, and wurstel. The Burgl and Burgltreiber (a couple of characters with faces painted black), ran through the streets, gleefully smearing black makeup on the faces of unsuspecting spectators (like us).
At the Egetmannumzug, the joke’s on you!
Being forewarned, however, wouldn’t have necessarily meant being forearmed, because no amount of internet info could’ve possibly saved my dignity after the chance encounter with the Mad Doctors. One minute I was snapping pics and the next I was being told to get ready to “push” while my birthing instructor stuck a lollipop and squirted some kind of alcoholic drink in my mouth. MotH was ordered to take photos and yes, I gave birth to a black child and there was nothing that I could do about it except to say OMIGOD! (The doctors were speaking in german but then in unison they started saying Omigod! Omigod! Omigod!).
Here come the Schnappvieh!
Without a doubt the true carnevale stars of the show are the bopping, hopping, no-stopping Schnappvieh, also called Wudele. These tall, jaw-snapping beasts generated a frenetic beat so palpitating that I could not get them out of my head (my sleep!) later that evening. This is just a short clip of them but I’ll be uploading unedited footage in its entirety over at youtube.
More photos at my Egetmann Parade flickr album
Unedited video at youtube (5:36)
Official website of the Egetmann Parade: www.egetmann.com
English version: www.egetmann.com/en