Putignano Carnival 2020: Five events not to be missed

Carnival is a celebration much loved by adults and children who have fun dressing up and happily spending this festive and colorful period of the year. In Puglia, one of the most famous Carnival events is the one that takes place in Putignano.

Putignano carnival
Putignano Carnival ©www.carnevalediputignano.it

Origins of the holiday

The Putignano Carnival was born in 1394 when Puglia was under the Saracen invasion. It is said that on 26 December, Saint Stephen’s Day, the citizens and governors of the city, to protect the relics of the Protomartyr Saint Stephen, moved them from the Monopoli Abbey to Putignano, a city which due to its strategic position seemed suitable for preserving that precious heritage. Legend has it that the farmers engaged in the fields grafting vines with the offshoot technique, seeing the procession of people passing by intent on transferring the relics of the Saint, abandoned their work in the fields to sing and dance satirical verses in dialect.

The traditions

From this legend originates the Festa delle Propaggini which is held every 26 December and which revives the memory of the past thanks to dialect poets, the offshoots, who in peasant clothes and with work tools challenge each other to the sound of satirical verses in dialect .

Other dates mark the arrival of Carnival: from January 17th (the day of Sant’Antonio Abate), in fact, every Thursday a story of a specific social group is represented. It starts with the group of Monsignors, then that of Priests, Nuns, Widowers, “Pazzi” (young people not yet married), Married Women and, finally, on the last Thursday the “Cuckold Thursday” is staged edited by the Accademia delle Corna. At half past six, in the Municipal Cloister, the representatives of this Academy polish their horns and visit the “Great Cuckold of the Year”, chosen by surprise by the other members of the Academy. In the evening, the Cerimonia dell’Ammasso takes place in Piazza Plebiscito, in which the horns are measured and cut by skilled hairdressers.

On February 2, Candlemas Day, on one hand religious rites take place linked to the blessing of candles while on the other, there is the Festa dell’Orso a theatrical representation in which the bear is seen both as the enemy to be hunted and killing is like a friendly presence that symbolizes the arrival of the beautiful season.

Shrove Tuesday is the day of the Carnival last rites: figures dressed as priests carry out this cheerful and amusing scene which culminates in the evening when a funeral procession accompanies the now dead Carnival represented by a papier-mâché pig which symbolizes the excesses that must give way to a more moderate lifestyle. At the end of the funeral, the pig is burned leaving only ashes to symbolize the arrival of Lent.

Putignano carnival
Putignano Carnival ©www.carnevalediputignano.it

Program of the 626th edition of the Putignano Carnival

Also this year, the Putignano Carnival is marked by fun and engaging events for adults and children. Not only the parades of allegorical floats but also concerts and live events that will cheer up the many visitors who will come to the city for one of the most famous cultural events in Puglia.

One of the most fun and colorful moments of the entire Putignano Carnival is represented by the parades of allegorical floats made of papier-mâché with masked groups and masks accompanying the passage of the floats. For 2020 the theme is “The earth seen from the Carnival“, a very heartfelt and current topic in light of the climate changes that are devastating our planet. In fact, this is intended to be an invitation to think about a sustainable future for the new generations and raise awareness on the topic of eco-sustainability. There are seven allegorical floats made by expert papier-mâché craftsmen: “Madre terra l’ultimo paradiso terrestre”, “L’apocalisse”, “Kaosecoista”, “Casca la terra, tutti giù per terra!”, “L’ultimo giro di giostra”, “… di domani non v’è certezza” e “Codice rosso”.


First parade of allegorical floats, masked groups and character masks (Sunday 9 February): the parade will take place at 11.30 am while the concert by the drummer, singer-songwriter and percussionist Tullio De Piscopo will be held at 8.00 pm.

Second parade of allegorical floats, masked groups and character masks (Sunday 16 February): the parade will take place at 11.30 am while at 8.00 pm, the comic duo Toti & Tata will entertain the public with laughter.

Third parade of allegorical floats, masked groups and character masks (Sunday 23 February): the parade will take place at 3.00 pm while at 8.00 pm, the Brazilian folk rock group Selton will enthrall the public with the cheerful and festive South American sounds.

Fourth parade of allegorical floats, masked groups and character masks (Tuesday 25 February): on Shrove Tuesday, the parade will take place at 6.00 pm.

Great piñata party (Saturday 29 February): after the great piñata party which will be held at 7pm, another moment of great music will be represented by the concert by singer Donatella Rettore, at 9.30pm.

We thank the Carnevale di Putignano Foundation for their precious collaboration.

Gallipoli Carnival ©www.terredipuglia.it
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