Masks and dancing on the streets of Muggia
The Carnival in Muggia is perhaps one of the most popular activities in the city and organizing it involves most of the citizens who say it’s in the genes. The municipality is in fact organized in eight volunteer associations who work throughout the year to organize the parade of allegorical floats that takes place every year on carnival Sunday.
Carnival in Muggia dates back to ancient times so much so that the first official reference in Municipal records started in 1420. The Associations were already established back then and hired musicians to animate the party; they were then reimbursed by the municipality for their activities. The importance of carnival in Muggia dates back very probably to the influence of Venice, the center of Italy where the carnival spirit is still very high besides Viareggio.
El Carneval de Muja, (Carnival of Muggia) in the Muggesan dialect, stood out for some of its traditions including the Bull Hunt, of Venetian origin and the Vegetable Ball, which took place on Shrove Tuesday in what is now Piazza Marconi. Some old traditions are brought back to life on Shrove Thursday, during the official opening of the Carnival of Muggia with a new choreography in which women and men dance with their heads adorned with green garlands, holding a golden bow of fronds and oranges. Another interesting ancient tradition is called “andar a ovi”, (»begging eggs«) and is still practiced today for adults and children.
The distinctive characteristic of the Carnival of Muggia is the complete absence of face masks. The purpose of the celebrations is to show oneself and be recognized by the public, not to hide behind a different identity as in the carnival of Venice. Furthermore, the Companies play a very important role. Each company chooses a different topic to develop through the creation of costumes, sets and choreographies that result in unique performances of “street theatre”.
The most highly anticipated moment of the Carnival is definitely the parade of allegorical floats. Each float is the result of a long process of preparation, to which Company members dedicate their spare time. Of the many companies that have followed each other over the years, eight are still active today: Bellezze Naturali (Natural beauties), Bulli e Pupe (Guys and Dolls), Bora, Brivido (Shiver), Lampo (Flash), Mandrioi (Beetles), Ongia (Nail), Trottola (Spinning top).
The companies compete each year to win the coveted prize.
The carnival’s culmination is without a doubt in the winter, but for years now it is also an event in the summer. It’s a time of limitless entertainment in hot July or August. Carnival is celebrated during lent which marks official beginning; Mardi Gras falls the day before it starts, 40 days before Easter.
If you want to join the next carnival activities, visit the companies’ website: www.carnevaldemuja.com