THE CYCLIC MEMORY OF CANTAMAGGIO
The tradition of fertility and the warm season in the time of covid-19
The official start of spring between March 21 and 23 is called the equinox. However, May is the month that most of all shows the beauty of nature that is reborn. Since ancient times man has always been impressed by the mysterious force of nature generated by the heat of our sun. Every year is always a beautiful surprise. Everything is reborn. The flora and fauna return to being luxuriant, the days get longer and the nights become milder and shorter.
It is no coincidence that throughout Europe between 28 April 2 and May this cyclical event is celebrated, albeit with different names and folkloristic traditions. Beltane, May Day, ‘Obby ‘Oss festival, Notte di Valpurga o Ludi Florales for the ancient Romans, are just some of the names that refer to the pagan cult of fertility and rebirth. Propitiatory songs, spicy games and jokes and the desire to be together are just some of the common points. In Italy, even if hardly, an ancient tradition very similar survives, Cantamaggio also present in the Marche.
In this region, the small millennial village of Morro d’alba celebrates Cantamaggio precisely at the beginning of May.
But how does it work? Where do you go and what do you do?
The tradition begins with hoisting a very tall tree in the square which will then be adorned. The party continues on the following weekends with the beggars’ “maggianti”. Young and not walk along the ancient country roads and downtown to sing verses dedicated to prosperity and love accompanied by traditional instruments. Obviously there is no shortage of spicy moments and rivalries. There is, of course, contention between the various groups which can come from different districts or neighboring countries. The “questua” often ends with the saltarello dance, wine and typical products offered by the host family.
CANTAMAGGIO IN 2020
Unfortunately, the custom has lost much of its strength especially in this year that has already gone down in history for the Covid-19 pandemic. Apart from the economic downturn, in this period we have been prohibited from social proximity, touching and talking closely with our peers. Passing glasses, exchanging kisses, dancing, shaking hands and everything that distinguishes us as humans in such a beautiful period, spring, has been denied us.
Apparently, however, despite the prohibitions and the fear of contagion, Morro d’alba continues keeping this important tradition. The traditional tree is hoisted and ready to be adorned and finally burned on the Sunday of May 31st. Frequent aggregations cannot take place but the desire to keep this tradition alive and to pass this difficult year remains and grows stronger. The ancient custom and superstition mixes with even more force with the cold rationality of the 21st century.
Find the program and many curiosities on the blog nonsiamomaisoli. Take a look at it is very interesting!
My little tribute to a land as beautiful and intense as the Marche and Cantamaggio is to remember it with some photos of the 2015 event.
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