CARNIVAL IN BASILICATA
The Carnival in Basilicata is a journey through traditional Lucanian myths, celebrations and rituals. Identities will become blurred as men and women swap roles, people become trees and animals, and traditional masks are donned for the festivities.
The Carnival actually consists of a variety of traditional festivals in towns across the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. Although there are a few others scattered throughout the year, many are concentrated in February, particularly between the 14th and 17th, making it a hard decision which places to visit and which celebrations to experience.
The celebrations in February start with the Horned Mask Carnival of Aliano on the 8th, and this vibrant and colourful tradition is repeated between the 15th and 17th.
On February 14th Teana holds the Carnival of the Bear, starring a variety of characters including a bride, groom, policemen and, of course, the bear. In Abriola Valentine’s Day is not forgotten; St. Valentine is the patron saint of the town and they celebrate his day with a Mass, procession, bonfires and dancing. The 14th of February also begins the festivities of the walking forest and men dressed as trees in Satriano di Lucania (14th -15th) and the Carnival in Stigliano (14th, 15th and 17th) with its allegorical floats and clown, while ending the dancing of the Festini which will take place every Saturday prior in Lavello. Lavello’s revels don’t end there however as they culminate on the 21st and 22nd with parades, floats, masks and dancing.
February 15th sees the famous masked festival of Tricarico, representing the seasonal migration of cattle and full of bells, rainbow-coloured streamers, parades, masks and people dressed as cows and bulls. The 15th and 17th hold in store the impressive floats of the Montese Carnival in Montescaglioso and the Carnival of Straw in Viggianello, involving a straw puppet sentenced to the stake. Cirigliano will also interpret the months of the year and the four seasons and hold the Carnival funeral procession on the 17th.
San Mauro Forte holds some events in January, as does Tricarico which also has celebrations in July, but February in particular presents a cluster of exciting traditions mixed with modern developments, bringing Basilicata, the ancient land of Lucania, into a huge explosion of colour and sound for the month.
There are numerous good reasons to take a trip to this largely untamed, undiscovered part of Southern Italy but we’ve pulled together ten - just in time for Christmas! Wander around [...]