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ParkTime N. 10 (En)

29 Gennaio 2021

In these days a ray of sunshine passes through the cold air to touch us. That warmth we feel on us seems to exist to calm us down. These are the days that from winter introduce us to spring and that mark the passage to a new cycle of life. Without haste, however. Nature shows signs of awakening and at the same time this rebirth seems to be postponed, suspended from day to day.

It is no coincidence that these are the days in which the Carnival takes place which underlines, in its deepest meaning, the moment of passage, of cyclical rebirth together with the earth, through propitiatory rites that transfer all the positive energy of human beings to the earth. We have not to forget the important apotropaic function of the objects used in these traditions that keep the evil away, at the precise moment when the earth slowly wakes up from its winter sleep, to be ready to feed again all the human beings who depend on it.
Its anthropological reality makes this festival still alive and well today, in fact, for centuries the Carnival has preserved its traditions unaltered in the various places of Italy and its cultural heritage is preserved in the popular wisdom that preserves and passes it down, often with a certain pride, from generation to generation.

Everywhere, the health emergency we are experiencing, cancels the Carnival in popular places and spaces, too many risks of contacts and gatherings and many, this year, will only be celebrated virtually. But this will not make us forget the true essence of it.
has always shown signs of contestation and regeneration with the poetry of disguises, the caustic and irreverent laughter that reveals all of its centuries-old history; very ancient traditions link rice and dances to the fertility of nature.

The Italy of popular traditions is shown in this period with masks, each region has its own, which derive from the Commedia dell’Arte, a dialectal prose theater that brought comic comedy to all of Europe, achieving unprecedented success.
"Arlecchino is the rejection of all respectability, clichés, hypocrisies" tells us Dario Fo who is counterbalanced by Giorgio Manganelli, stating that "Pulcinella is both foolish and wise, he is a hero and a coward, perhaps the only humanly possible hero".
Two faces of the same mask: Pulcinella in the south, Harlequin in the north, a timeless character, an original interpreter of himself who tells the truth by joking.
Here is the main feature of the Italian Carnival, which makes it unique compared to the others: it has transformed his masks into characters, which interact with each other in the Commedia dell’Arte. The characters weren't trapped in a timeless role like other masks around the world.

If in the next few days you see a headless hat walking quietly down the street, don't be frightened; do not react like passers-by in Gianni Rodari's Carnival nursery rhyme:
“It escaped from the window! /
- He escaped from the window! -Sure, it's a thief hat! - Take him to the guardhouse!
Calm down, - said the hat - today every joke is worth. A lot of people walk around headless even when it's not carnival".

A nursery rhyme between the fantastic and the surreal that teaches us a lot about the grammar of the imagination of which Gianni Rodari remains an unsurpassed teacher. 

Annalisa Nicastro

Cover by Carlotta Patrizi

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