A CARNIVAL FOR EVERY VILLAGE
our area we host a Carnival every year which attracts thousands of visitors who
come to see the typical “masks” and allegorical “floats” and “carts”.
origins of the differents masks date as far back as last century. The single
events lived moments of oblivion before reviving successfully.
In Novara King Biscottino (he
owes his name to the traditional sweet) and Queen Cuneta have reigned since
Figure 6 – King Biscottino and the carnival of Novara
important Carnival is in Oleggio, by now well-known all around Italy. Pirin and
his wife Majn are the main masks. The tradition wants that the noble but cruel
Barnabò owned 5,000 dogs, and give more than the half of them into the care of
the peasants. One of these made some typical maize sweets, - of which Barnabò
was greedy - which had been poisoned by his wife, in order to offer them on the
occasion of his customary submission visit. The Duke became suspicious and made
them be tasted by the dogs, which of course died. The peasant was jailed and
sentenced to death and only the “Marchese di Monferrato” saved him when he
defeated Barnabò after a bloody war the story was told and sung and a dialect
poet gave the country man the name “Pirin”. The memory of that fact has survived
Oleggio Carnival was revived in 1951. On the fist Sunday of Carnival, Pirin
takes possession of the town and until the last Thursday of Carnival he reigns.
The Oleggio Carnival became famous in time for its parade of allegorical carts.
The Carnival carts, modified and lighted, go in night parade, accompanied by
Folklorist groups. To all spectators as much wine as they like is offered.
carts, realised with paper-maché painted with tempera, are built by some
volunteers who aren’t paid. The time of building of the carts may change
depending on the size and of the complexity. They often represent political
satires, or important events. During the Carnival, the carts are sequeled by
some people in custom or by musical bands.
the end of the parade a prize is assigned to the best cart.
Figure 7 – The carnival parade in Oleggio