Discover Abruzzo: The Carnival of Schiavi d’Abruzzo

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During this time of the year there are many famous Carnivals celebrated all over the world; there are big and famous Carnivals like the one in Rio de Janero, but there are also smaller carnivals with as much color and character in smaller towns, such as Abruzzo’s Schiavi d’Abruzzo.

In this tiny Italian town the tradition of carnival is celebrated with a touch of originality. On “Mardi gras” (Shrove Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday) the young boys of the town get dressed up with amusing costumes and they put on their head the “Cimiero”, a curious headgear made from colorful paper flowers and ribbons – in Abruzzo dialect zagarelle.  Oh yes they look bizarre, but it’s fun!

The mazzaroun go around the streets of Schiavi singing, dancing and playing music with an accordion. The group is headed by Pulcinella (one of the classic characters of the Italian Carnival) who holds in his hands a kind of wood bat called sagliocca, which is the symbol of power, of divine nature and of the rebirth of plant life.

During their show the mazzaroun perform a special dance called the ‘spallata which comprises pushing each other shoulder against shoulder. The noisy and cheerful group goes door to door in the nine streets of the town asking for sweets, or even better wine and salami in exchange of songs and dances.

And remember …. A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale

(in English this could be read as “every joke is allowed at Carnival”)

…so never lose lose your smile!


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