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CARNEVALE DI SCIACCA 2016

February 9, 2016

A lIvely, captivating, colorful and enchanting Carnevale in Sicily takes place each year in the town of Sciacca, a Medieval town which lies on the Southern Coast of Sicily, in the municipality of Agrigento. For days, the streets of the town come alive with music which snakes its way through each corner of the streets and alleys.  The natural hues of the light stone Medieval buildings become the backdrop to the intensely rich colors of floats, costumes and masks.

Port of Sciacca

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The Carnevale of Sciacca celebrated its one hundredth year anniversary in the year 2000. The mascot of this Carnevale is the character named Peppe ‘Nappa.

At the opening of the Carnevale in Sciacca, Peppe ‘Nappa arrives from the sea and is given the symbolic key to the town, thus announcing the beginning of the festivities. For several days, during the Carnevale, Peppe ‘Nappa’s float will be in the lead followed by all the allegorical floats that are participating in that year’s Carnevale.

Each float is built by an association and the work is carried out by  many artists, artisans and technicians, to name a few.  Furthermore,  each float has its own theme. For each theme, besides the float, there is a song, a musical performance and a short play all that support the theme of the float. The songs and dances are performed while the floats travel through town in the parade, and when each float stops for its turn at the main stage located in  Piazza Scandaliato, the performers belonging to each specific float, have a chance to carry out their shows on the large stage and these involve singing, dancing and reciting.

Following are the names of the floats that participated in the Carnevale of Sciacca 2016:

PEPPE ‘NAPPA, EXPORTIAMO, NON VOGLIO SOLO LA LUNA, ARRIVA IL CIRCO, LU DIAVULU E L’ACQUASANTA AND STA ZORBA…CHE DEI.

Following are some images from Carnevale di Sciacca 2016

PEPPE ‘NAPPA HOLDING THE SYMBOLIC KEY TO THE TOWN IN HIS RIGHT HAND

1 Peppe 'Nappa night

EXPORTIAMO  –  WE EXPORT

2 EXPORTIAMO

NON VOGLIO SOLO LA LUNA –  I WANT MORE THAN THE MOON

3 NON VOGLIO SOLO LA LUNA FRONTE

ARRIVA IL CIRCO – THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN

BACK OF FLOAT

6 ARRIVA IL CIRCO DIETRO

LU DIAVULU E L’ACQUASANTA – THE DEVIL AND THE HOLY WATER

7 Lu Diavulu e l'Acquasanta

STA ZORBA…CHE DEI  – THIS ZORBA DANCE…WHAT GODS

LATERAL VIEW

9 STA ZORBA GLI DEI LATERALE SERA

THE STAGE IN PIAZZA SCANDALIATO WHERE  PERFORMANCES TAKE PLACE

9 STAGE FOR SHOWS RELATED TO EACH FLOAT

Dancers for Arriva il Circo

8ARRIVA IL CIRCO DANCERS

Dancers for Non Voglio Solo La Luna

7 NON VOGLIO SOLO LA LUNA DANCERS

I had a chance to speak to several local people during this Carnevale, walking through town and enjoying the festivities.  It was interesting to glean different points of view.  There were those who recounted the Carnevale of the past, in this town, when there were twice the number of floats participating.  Some mentioned that today’s smaller number of floats were representative of the current times of crisis, when times are hard.  Yet, others stated that the reason those planning the event have chosen to have fewer floats is indeed to allow a better flowing of the events and the crowds.  Those stating the second explanation, mentioned that in evaluating the results of each Carnevale after each event, those who had planned the event could state that there were fewer incidents occurring in the least crowded Carnevali. I must say that I personally was surprised at the ease in following the floats around town, of how there were no barriers and there was a good flow of people that could walk around and go from one float to another.

However, there is one story that has stuck in my mind as it was told to me by one of the local people I talked to during the Carnevale. This person mentioned some of the old traditions that have gone lost, as many traditions do over time. In his retelling the traditions of the past, he mentioned how in the old days, the local families would participate in what was called “I Sabatini”, Sabato being Saturday.  For two months, before Carnevale, families which were involved in the building of the floats, would meet on Saturday night.  They would all meet in a large garage and enjoy music, dancing and food.  Each family would bring enough food to share with others and late at night, after the dancing, they would all eat together, sharing the food they had brought with one another.  This was called “schiticchia.”  This group would then choose a theme to adopt for Carnevale and on the occasion of Carnevale they would all go out as a group, all dressed alike, following the same theme.  I mentioned that I saw a little of this while enjoying Carnevale Sciacca 2016 as there were small groups of participants dressed alike, but certainly not groups as large as the ones mentioned in this retelling of the past.  One more element that has changed by the recollections of those that I spoke to regarding carnival traditions and changes is the fact that in the past there were small floats also participating in the Carnevale.  The person recounting this memory stated that it was thanks to the small floats that people would gain the practice and experience necessary to then move on to creating the larger floats.

All this confirms that each person has their own set of memories and preferences as in many aspects of life!  To each their own beliefs are important and this is certainly worth respecting.

Carnevale in Sciacca is full of enjoyable events and the culminating event is a performance by representatives of all of the groups that have participated and returning the key of the town to the Mayor of Sciacca. Finally, the burning of Beppe ‘Nappa officially  concludes the Carnevale.

In closing, I will share  two  of the culinary traditions of Carnevale in Sicily.  The first I will mention is the pasta ai cincu purtusi, pasta with five holes.  Tradition states it is eaten on Fat Thursday and the dish below is the one I ate thanks to my friend Rosi who cooked it for me soon after my return to Sicily last week!

PASTA A LI CINCU PURTUSA

The second culinary tradition I shall mention is one of the desserts enjoyed at Carnevale, le Chiacchere.  Chiacchere is the name of this dessert in Sicily, as they are enjoyed in other regions of Italy, too, but have different names in different regions of Italy. The chiacchere  pictured below are the ones with a little chocolate!

CHIACCHERE

All in all, Carnevale in Sciacca 2016 was certainly worth all the miles I had to travel to attend!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

3 Comments
  1. Awesome blog post, Rosanna! Your posts are so very interesting. And the photos are beautiful! Wish I had a taste of that pasta…yum!!!

  2. Mary Jarvis permalink

    Looks beautiful. Hope you are enjoying Sicily. We are enjoying the keys. Should Be home by April. Keep the post coming.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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