The Carnival in the Province of Vercelli
The Carnival in Borgosesia
Among the most important carnivals in the province of Vercelli, known throughout Piedmont, the Carnival of Borgosesia, in its most typical and characteristic expression, the Mercû Scûrot, was founded in 1854. Precisely on this day, elegant men celebrate in their own way the "funeral" of the Carnival, accompanying through the streets of the village a coffin containing a straw puppet representing the Carnival. The year after the puppet was given the name of "Peru Magunella". Only 30 years later the mask began to be interpreted by a person and was associated with a wife, the "Gin Fiammàa." ??The Mercû Scûrot, considered a unique event in Europe, is celebrated on Ash Wednesday, the day when, for tradition, the carnival of Borgosesia ends. Even today this tradition has been maintained: the participants wear a cylinder and cape and are equipped with a wooden spoon used to drink the wine that is distributed in special locations located along the route. The tour of the city ends in the late evening with the reading of the testament of Peru Magunella and the propitiatory pyre of the puppet.
The festival ends with the parade of allegorical floats, bands, folk groups, majorettes and flag-wavers.
The carnival of Santhià is the oldest carnival in Piedmont. It originates from the Abadia, a lay association that was responsible for organizing dances and carnival festivities. Abbadia is mentioned for the first time in a document of 1338.
The masks of the festival are Majutin from Pampardù and Stevulin 'dla Plisera the absolute masters of the city during the three days of the carnival. Stevulin and Majuti, according to legend, are two peasants who centuries ago came to the city for their honeymoon. The local gentleman, with popular consent, handed the keys of the city to the couple, allowing them to administer and govern justice in the three days. From this fact derives the ceremony of the delivery of the keys to the city, following which Stevulin reads a speech to the population, in dialect, during which he tackles current issues with humor.
The Carnival in Varallo
The origins of the festivities date back to 1595, when some friars of the Sacred Mountain of Varallo had been surprised to celebrate the carnival. Today the masked group that embodies the spirit of the carnival is made up of twelve people, with the two main characters King Marcantonio and his companion Cecca.
The Pasquetta in the past symbolized the Epiphany, and was celebrated with a great pyre, a greeting to the new year, a burial feast of the past and a wish for the new year and the beginning of the carnival. Over time, the popular tradition has transformed the Easter Monday into the mother of Marcantonio and the carnival in general, a woman endowed with a timeless fruitfulness, whose task is to create a new carnival every year, a new child named Marcantonio.
Finally, the carnival ends with the Marcantonio trial and the pyre, on the evening of the Ash Wednesday, with a theatrical show during which the most salient facts of the city's chronicle are put to the sedan.
The Carnival in Vercelli
The Carnival of Vercelli has now become an important reality, also known beyond the regional borders. It begins with the presentation of the main masks of Vercelli, the Bicciolano and his consort, the Bela Majin.
The history linked to the Bicciolano mask dates back to the late 1700s, in the context of the French Revolution that is coming to Piedmont, when Vercelli was governed by a wealthy and untouchable class that imposed taxes and gabelles for personal purposes. In defense of the people, Carlin Belletti said the Bicciolano, legendary figure at the time, advances a protest. His name will remain in history, linked to the ideals of justice and equality.