I riti di Carnevale in due piccole comunità della Vinschgau: Prad am Stilfserjoch e Stilfs

Marta Villa


In Italy's Autonomous Province of Bolzano, there are two adjacent communities, Prad am Stilfserjoch and Stilfs in Vinschgau, which celebrate carnival rituals involving themes of fertility. In both communities, predominantly young males are recruited to be ritual actors as well as spectators. There are three rituals that take place during the week of Carnival, two performed by the community of Prad and one (in alternate years) by that of Stilfs. In Prad, a masked event known as "Zusslnrennen" (Running of Zussln) is performed on Fat Tuesday. On Sunday, again in Prad, the "Dance of the Masks" takes place in the dining room, called stube, of the oldest hotel of the different neighborhoods of the village. In Stilfs, on Fat Saturday, the ceremony of "Pflugziehen" (plow pulling) is held, in which two different groups of characters confront one another along the same route. All three events are conducted according to carnival rituals and are characterized by elements of sacred practice, including the exclusion of women (who can only be spectators), although the entire rite revolves around female fertility and the fertility of the earth.

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