Schignano, between carnival and expressions
Centuries-old traditions at the foot of Sasso Gordona
The Schignano Carnival is a traditional event in Val d'Intelvi that every year gives the town and all its visitors a fun and exciting social struggle between "Brut and Mascarun." The spectacle begins on midnight between January 5 and 6, and from then on it is a succession of preparations that will then result in the parades and processions in February and March, following the Roman rite.
The carnival masks
Accompanied by the notes of the Fughéta, the traditional village bandella, behind enigmatic masks carved by hand in wood, the "Bruts" capture the attention of the large crowds in attendance with leaps, falls, and disheveled, frayed clothes that recall a humble lifestyle. They carry heavy cowbells on their backs, some carry a gerlo on their shoulders, others drag an old suitcase. Sometimes they move slowly, sometimes they run haphazardly, some ignore the audience, others approach and pat people with dirty, wet rags.
Vexatious and colorful clothes, lace, lace and swollen belly (the butasc), a calm and upright gait give, on the other hand, elegance and nobility to the Mascarun (the Bei). On their shoulders they wear a shawl and on their belts they tie four bronze bells under a lace flounce. Leading the parades are two mysterious enigmatic figures, the "Sapeurs," dressed in sheepskin suits and with their faces painted black, open and supervise the procession immediately after the "Sigurtà," a mask representing the guarantor of security, accompanied by a cloak and stick. The only speaking mask is that of the "Ciocia, " wife and servant of the "Mascarun," peremptorily represented by a man with a soot-stained face and wooden clogs, who wanders among those present complaining about his condition of servitude.
The burning of the Carnival
In the midst of all these pantomimes, another act of the festivities is staged in St. John's Square in Occagno. It is here that the "Carlisep," a puppet representing Carnival, is hung, destined to be sent to the stake at midnight on Shrove Tuesday, not after attempting to escape in vain in a daring run through the crowds and alleys.
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