Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni Luxury Magazine
23
FEB
2017

Published in:

Culture

23 FEB 2017 Published in:
Culture

THE AUTHENTIC TRADITIONS OF THE LAKE: CARNIVAL IN SCHIGNANO

The theatrical carnival of Schignano is celebrated in accordance with Roman ritual, then "plays out" on Saturday and on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. It is surely one of the most famous and unique carnivals in the province of Como.

The town of Schignano still retains the historic character of this event, which has survived to the present day thanks to the participation of locals and the commitment of the local Pro Loco, a grass-roots civic pride group.

The spectacle is centred around the juxtaposition of two masks: zhe Beauty and the Beast.

These wooden masks are highly important, being hand-carved from walnut root and jealously guarded by their makers, who grant their use exclusively for this occasion.

The Beauty mask presents elegant features, whereas the Beast mask is far more grotesque. Some of the masks date back more than two hundred years.

The theatrical stage of the event is made up of the town square and the alleys and streets connecting the various parts of the town.

The following are the most famous masks:

Sapeaur and Sigurtà: These two masks open the procession, dressed in sheepskin, with black-painted faces, moustaches and long white beards, and wearing sheepskin hats. Between the two Sapeaur figures stands the Sigurtà, who represents security and wears a military-style hat, a grey-green cape and a headband with the inscription “Sicurtà”.

Mascarun: (Beauty) This mask represents the ''old nobleman", dressed in a flamboyant, colourful costume, with a big belly, moving elegantly and ringing the four bronze bells which complement the disguise in a rhythmic manner.

Brut: (Beast) This mask represents the poor man subjugated to the gentleman, dressed in miserable clothes, as opposed to the Beauty. Even his movements are clumsy and burlesque. Completing the mask are 4 so-called “Cioch” cowbells.

Ciocia: This mask represents the subservient wife of Mascarun. She is tied to a rope held by the Mascarun throughout the entire event, dressed in old-fashioned, mostly dark clothes, with a black-painted face, holding spinning paraphernalia (a spindle and a distaff) and cursing her husband throughout the event.

Carlisep: This mask, represented by a puppet, is left hanging for a few days in the square and then magically transforms into a living being, running along the streets of the town to escape the fire that will mark the end of the carnival.

The whole procession is underscored by the Fugheta, a short fugue played by a few members of the local band.

Many other masks will join the parade, along with crowds of tourists coming from across the province.

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