The Emilian carnival: tradition and masks

Carnival is a festival of ancient origins: in fact it developed from the Saturnalia of Ancient Rome and with Christianity it became the event that marked the beginning of the Lenten fasting. In Italy, over the centuries, various Carnival Masks were born and spread, starting from the tradition of puppets, the Commedia dell’Arte and the Teatro buffonesco. Some figures are present throughout Italy, others are typical of some specific regions.

In Emilia Romagna, traditional carnival masks are linked to the history and characteristics of this area. One of the most important Emilian Carnivals is that of Cento, historic but twinned with the Rio de Janeiro Carnival. However the party still retains its traditional characters.

le-due-querce-balanzoneBALANZONE – One of the protagonists is Balanzone, the most famous mask of the Emilian Carnival. Originally from Bologna, it is characterized by a robust body and a playful appearance. Its name derives from the dialect word balanza (large scale) to symbolize the justice and legal studies that have made the University of Bologna famous. In fact, Balanzone symbolizes the oldest university in Europe, so much to dress the uniform of its professors.

SGANAPINO – Instead the character Sganapino Posapiano Squizzagnocchi was invented by puppeteer Augusto Galli in 1877: naive, simple and nice, has a very long nose and carries with him the broom Carolina, used to defend itself. Sganapino is the shoulder of Fagiolino Fanfani, born as a puppet and coming from the urban sub-proletariat of nineteenth-century Bologna. His name indicates his poverty because beans (fagioli) were a common dish among people who could not afford better. It always appears dirty and hungry.

TASI – In the Carnival of Cento dominates the Tasi Mask, which carries a white fox on a leash and spends his day drinking wine (which he loves much more than his wife). During the festival, the city mask is burnt on a bonfire after reading the will of Luigi Tasini, the historical character from whom it was taken.

SANDRONE – Finally, it represents Reggio Emilia Sandrone, symbol of the coarse and ignorant peasant, but astute and friendly, who tries to appear more educated than it is. It is characterized by its red and white striped night cap and to speak in a fun mix of Romagnolo and Italian dialect.

To better enjoy the Carnival and discover all the traditions and customs of Romagna Locanda Le Due Querce is ideal! From our inn you will be able to easily reach the most important places in Emilia!