On the last Sunday in February of even-numbered years, Recoaro Terme comes alive with an unusual buzz: hundreds of people dressed in traditional fashions, floats displaying the trades typical of these districts, and much, much hustle and bustle. The whole, however, is not chaotic, but euphoric and enthralling. These are the people of these beautiful mountains gathering in the center of the village to drive away winter and awaken spring and nature.
The first element that one notices is precisely the din: partly to annoy and ward off the last cold days of the season, partly to call attention to spring, the figures play whatever instruments they have at their disposal: drums, horns, lids, cowbells, you name it! One only has to rely on one's ears to reach the nerve center of the event, the town parade formed by hundreds and hundreds of costumed figurants, who in groups, on foot or on wagons set up with all kinds of scenery, put on display an extraordinary array of objects, tools and evidence of the "Cimbrian" civilization and tradition. The stories, trades, products and folklore of the recoarese past come alive in a phantasmagorical whirlwind of glimpses and details recovered from the centuries.
The one that takes place every two years in Recoaro Terme is a very ancient rite, which gives the opportunity to live, in the present day, the emotions of the past through the re-enactment of a past rich in traditions, values and knowledge. Not to mention the wonderful opportunity to taste some of the typical dishes of the area such as: gnocchi con Fioretta, baccalà alla vicentina, sarde in saor, and many others present within the typical restaurants and trattorias!
An ancient tradition
The March Calling is one of the oldest and most characteristic events of Recoaro Terme tradition and folklore, whose origin is lost in the mists of time. The festival used to fall on the last Sunday in February. At that time it was the spontaneous manifestation of the joy that invaded the spirits of the mountain people, who were forced to stay locked in their houses and stables for four or five months, when the first warmth of spring melted the ice that in winter interrupted relations and normal communications both between the districts and with the center of the town. Around dusk, after gathering in droves in their quarters, hundreds of shepherds, herdsmen, peasants, and their families would descend into the village, dressed in extravagant fashions and costumes, in a compact procession amidst a frenzied din.
It is known from various records that the festival was still celebrated with great enthusiasm and participation in the last century and up to the 1920s of this century, and then gradually declined from the period between the two world wars. Beginning in 1979, the Municipal Administration and a special committee, assisted by the Azienda Autonoma di Cura e Soggiorno, the Cultural Cooperative and the Municipal Library, promoted the revival of the event with the aim of publicizing and reviving its folkloric nature and its historical and cultural significance, organizing the participation of costumed groups and floats set up in keeping with the ancient local tradition. Thirty or so floats and groups, hundreds of people in the parade amid a large and jubilant crowd: this was the extraordinary success of the first re-enactment edition. The event was then repeated with even greater resonance and further adhesions (over 50 floats and more than 900 people in the parade) biennially in the following years. In short, the March Calling has returned to life in the ancient and colorful festive backdrop that characterized it so many years ago.
Memory and emotions
The fact that this tradition has passed from generation to generation, from people to people, somehow managing to survive to the present day, is truly amazing, and it is also a vivid testimony to how deeply rooted, spontaneous and intimately felt is the custom of "Calling March" in the history of the people of Recco, even in times when everything or almost everything around us tends to erase all traces of our past identity.
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