Putignano: the magic of Carnival in Puglia.
What an amazing day it was on Sunday February 19th, 2023 during the Carnival period here in Puglia. Putignano is famous for its Carnival celebrations, and I understand why. The floats or (carro k-AA-r-oh, "carri" plural form) as they are called were absolutely breathtaking. The locals participated in the festivities dancing in front of the floats. Children and adults alike following the choreography. People dancing in the streets. It was a party for everyone.
A Short History of Carnival: the origins of the word.
Carnival really is the world's oldest celebration. I came across a wonderful site that details the history of carnival. It states that there are Christian roots as well as Latin roots. “Carne vale” or “carne levare” means to remove meat. This occurs before the Lent season which begins on Ash Wednesday (mercoledì delle ceneri). This symbolizes the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness enduring the temptation of Satin. Jesus also used this time to prepare for his ministry. So no wonder why the world celebrates beforehand, 40 days are a long time of penance. It was also a time for people to be who they really wanted to be. Maybe a servant would dress as their master, a peasant as a rich nobleman, or a nobleman would dress as a peasant. This celebration was a way for different classes to change roles, and enjoy the freedom of their new "status," and enjoy life behind a mask, literally.
For more information on the history of Carnival, check out this great website.
What was incredible about this experience was the energy in the air. It was contagious. I myself walking to the beat of music, eating my focaccia to the beat of the music, and literally posting on instagram to the beat of the music. The children were absolutely adorable and so incredibly happy. They would dance and jump and sing without a care in the world. The parents were enjoying themselves as well, if their child didn’t start crying of course. I have to say, no crying here! It was just pure fun. I think that’s what a lot of us need. In this world of solitude and isolation Carnival brings people together. Carnival brings the joy out of life and teaches us to recognize the sacrifice. Before the sacrifice comes the sweets! The chiacchiere and castagnole are the most famous treats for this holiday. In reality, each region in Italy has their own version of these treats, there are also different names and probably different recipes. On this website, giallo zafferano, you can find recipes and videos on how to make these special delicacies.
Carnival is a celebration held all around Italy which was inspired by the Roman Saturnalia festival. Carnival origins in Italy can be traced back to ancient celebrations of the arrival of spring. Carnival has developed throughout the centuries and survived wars, bans and restrictions.
For more exciting pictures of Carnival in Putignano, click on the arrow or thumbnails and scroll through. You will be amazed. The floats are so huge, I tried to get every angle. That is why you will see multiple pictures of the same float. All taken from different perspectives.
Not My Grandmother's Italy dancing at Carnival!
For more information on the Carnival celebrations in Putignano here is their website. Carnival celebrations continue today and on February 25.
Carnival in Venice never disappoints! Check out my throwback when I had the unforgettable experience of Carnival in Venice.
Isn't life just one big Carnival?
Thank you for reading my blog. My name is Annamaria Borelli, and I am from Long Branch, New Jersey. You can find me on instagram notmygrandmothers_italy, and on facebook (Annamaria Borelli). I am a musical theater, opera, and jazz singer. I am a writer, and I'm curious about all things Italy. Feel free to message me for more details!