Ottobre 17, 2017

cultura popolare contadine/Today I received this photograph of the preparation of FOCARA Novoli from Ersilio Teifreto, supporter of festivals and collaborator of the site

cultura popolare contadine/Today I received this photograph of the preparation of FOCARA Novoli from Ersilio Teifreto, supporter of festivals and collaborator of the site


is one of the most famous poems of Michael Pane, published for the first time in Viole e ortiche nel 1906.

But how many know exactly what is fòcara?
First, remember that the word is pronounced with the fas the initial intake “c” Tuscan casa or h English home. This particular ruling, the subject of much discussion in the past on how we should express in writing, has often led to serious error to insert a h after f (fhocara) or even use the letter h instead of f.

These wrong ways of writing had already been treated by Professor. Louis Accattatis in the preface to his famous Vocabulary of the Calabrian dialect and reflected in Appendix Viole e ortiche (1906) Bread, in which Michael publishes a note on hiViolets and nettlesccattatis. The words are explicit Accattatis: «The delusion of some good writers came from Calabria to the point of writing huocu, hidile, hocara, etc.. aspired to make the sound that the lip and teeth fBakers and has in other countries of Cosenza, without alerting readers that no less than h is starting in place of the letter f, waves is to head fuocu, fidile, fòcara.» (see f. Musolino, Michele Pane. The Life, pp. 77-78).

A fòcara

But back to the fòcara. This is a big bonfire that lights up the night of Christmas Eve and then is kept alive and revitalized New Year's Eve and Epiphany. A large open fire, then, come lo si ritrova nelle tradizioni popolari di molti paesi europei in corrispondenza del giorno più corto dell’anno ma anche in altri periodi.
The pagan origin of the tradition is certainly, like many other traditions and rituals that religions have absorbed and reworked, but here what is most interesting is the anthropological aspect of the
fòcara, cioé come è stato rielaborato e vissuto nelle comunità calabresi in generale e in particolare in Decollatura.

The raw material consisted mainly of strains of chestnut, almost always the part that remained in the soil after cutting a tree. It is a tangle of roots which is a lot of land and the collar of the trunk just mentioned. You can not talk of waste since, in ancient times, also the roots of the trees was used as firewood, after digging the ground all around the cutoff point, almost touching the ground, e, sometimes, even below. No one could afford to let them rot in the ground a few hundred pounds of wood at a time when the only source of fuel was the dry wood that fell from the trees after a storm, right granted to the inhabitants of mountain villages in the land of the feudal lords as dead wood to, ie the right to collect dead wood naturally fallen from the trees. There was little else to burn: le branches (bundles of twigs), the few available, were used to burn the oven; the stubble of lupines annual repairs needed for the shed; the trunks of trees, it's not even talk about the case: who would never cut a tree, depriving themselves of a source of food? Above – and that seems unlikely – the landscape of the past was much more barren than today! Farmlands were not tolerated in the trees, by shadow, would reduce the production of the field and so it is not planted, or better, there were few, high, huge trees pirajina or apple, so high that their shadow is distributed over a large area and thus gave little disturbance to the crop. There were places where they could be found uncultivated shrubs or other plant material. The trees, the few tolerated on the banks of rivers or in the woods, were pruned to a height unlikely during the summer to feed the goats. That left the roots of the trees felled by bad weather, those transported by the flow of rivers, those whose owners had not watched enough…

Strains, called zucchi in dialect decollaturese, So far they had to be collected, in the woods or near rivers, and carried on a makeshift carro to the square of the fraction of belonging volunteers. The work necessary to remove the stump of the roots from the earth and bring it to the destination would discourage anyone. And it is precisely this aspect that, attempting an anthropological analysis of fòcara, you can find items to give a plausible interpretation of its origin and meaning. The starting point is that the roots and the trunk remained underground working and prevent the sowing of the soil and also, particularly in the case of the chestnut, do not rot after many years. The cooperation of many people in the unlikely job of extracting and removing stumps of chestnut is considered as a positive work once a year in the woods, however, the land and generally, were cleaned by these bulky and annoying presence. If we want to go even further back in time, until the Middle Ages and even before then, we have to remember one of the primitive techniques of cultivation: the so-called cesina.

Only traces remain of this word in the expression turnover has ‘na cesina, commonly used today, in the sense of make a killing, make extensive and excessive use of something (consuming and destroying) without knowing that the cesinaat breast height) and then setting fire to the whole. The undergrowth and provided part of the trunk remained ash fertilized and made ready for planting new farmland. Needless to add here the negative opinion for this primitive practice that provided only a fleeting and temporary relief to the food problems of the people who practiced, but we must also consider the reasons which impelled it to adopt, quasi sempre le impellenti necessità di gente che si trovava in zone a rapida espansione demografica.

After an initial seeding was happening with seeds of grain dropped directly on the ashes and covered as best, needed to clear the ground from the remains of tree stumps and roots that prevented plowing with oxen and then the permanent use of land. From here it can be assumed, in my opinion, the birth of the practice of pooling the forces of the young country's strongest and most enterprising of the ground to remove the remaining underground plant parts. La fòcara was subjected to the roots that had suffered the same fate as the first part of the trunk to the ground, which had provided an appropriate amount of ash fertilizer. In confirmation of this report may cite the attention that was placed in ensuring that the wood is completely consumed. He had only ashes remain!
In South, the country that has most linked his name to
fòcara is Novoli, in the province of Lecce, where it builds fòcara the world's largest, more than high 25 meters! The fuel? Vines, clipping of the endless vineyards existing in the region Puglia! Bulky material to be collected and disposed of in a collective celebration. La fòcara Novoli takes place 17 January, day dedicated to S. Antonio Abate, related to fire and the Holy animals, and do not appear strange that there is this shift than the fòcara Christmas at Christmas because the pruning of the vine has not yet been made. E’ evidently the agricultural cycle that determines the date on which it performs fòcara or one of the many other popular rites, and not the other, then a leading position within the religious feast closest. What follows is one of the many movies that can be found on You Tube showing theFOCARA Novoli:

Click here to view the embedded video.

In other parts of Italy there are fòcare taking place in a different way but, I think, with the same theme. The fire takes, in each, the role of purifying; used to wipe out the evil that had accumulated during the year or the previous season, come è evidente anche nel fuoco che distrugge il fantoccio di Carnevale.
He describes the fires that flared up in the Sorrento Peninsula, in a different time of year, Gaetano Amalfi in the student 1890: «On the eve of” Assumed for all the hills of Sorrento Peninsula are in use
focarazzi, fed from the straw of the collection already made. Perhaps this stems from the prohibition imposed by King Charles I of Anjou (Quidem Pridem) not to burn the stubble, ere this time and therefore avoid possible fire. Even on the feast of S. Anthony, a’ 13 of June, the boys buy with a penny for each of the bundles, and make de’ great focarazFocarazzag> , each of the country larghetto. Such use is now stopping ; bundles and replace it with the light at the Venetian , cioè le panarelle.» [Gaetano Amalfi, Traditions and customs on the Peninsula, Palermo, Pedestrian Lauriel, 1890, p. 50]

That is talking about Michael Bread, and that many of us remember, however, is a fòcara different from that of the origins, according to our reconstruction. In the days of bread in the territory there are few sources of supply of combustible material. Do not you do the more cesine and roots, together with the remains of stumps of trees cut, were fully used for house fire, as mentioned. The same Michael Bread, in poetry Tora, describes how hard it is to combat the cold:

«Veniadi priestu la vecchiarella            &n»p;                 [It was early in the morning the old woman
attached,                                                   &amp«bsp;                    affezionata
and Portavadie 'na Sarcinella                                      e ci portava una fascina
iip 'ni' nde nue to 'na blaze»                          per farcene noi una vampata]

Or, in Viernu is vicinu:

Allu cannizzu nun's bread cchiù,   &ampthenbsp;                      [In the lattice there is no more bread,
is the utru senz'uogliu mu n'allucimu, l'otre è senza olio per illuminare,
'I mu un'àmu LIGNA scarfàmu                                non abbiamo legna per riscaldarci]

And then the ritual has turned into a variant that lasted until the 60s or 70s of the twentieth century, and that is the variant that is so sought the wood in the woods or near rivers, it is also asking residents to the poor who had little to their already, o, in extreme cases, deftly removing it from reserves … mal custodite.

Young people took advantage of this rite to give evidence of physical force, skill, courage and groped for the climb in the group, compete for the role of leader. All this was possible because the research, collection and transport of zucchi required cunning, force, strategy. Yes, because by the time the raw material was scarce – rarely cut a tree – it was necessary to look further and further away from the village and also steal the prey, glimpsed perhaps months before, ai predatori delle vicine frazioni che avevano puntato gli occhi sullo stesso oggetto.

Of these socio-anthropological fully aware Bread Michael in his poem which tells of the preparation of fòcara:

groups in the suttas Jungian Urmu                               [gathered in groups under the Elm
cumulative s'avia dde do if he thought                              come fare si pensava
iip 'herringbone FOCARA cchiù the nova                            per fare una focara he could new
the CANC avanti, e dare 'e nue 'na prova. than previous year, and put to the test.]

Here in the words of the poet emerge all the elements mentioned above:

– the formation of groups
– planning and strategy
– una
fòcara always different
– give a proof of his strength and courage

He then goes on:

Dòppu chi s’era tuttu cuncertatu                           [After everything had been agreed
ognunu s' 'a spilava citu citu each of you duck in silence
'mbersu dduve lu jurnu abbìlettatu sighted during the day to where
Aviad LIGNA; (or biellu dduce and ritu!)                      wood had; (beautiful and sweet, or ritual!)
nun who restava mancu 'no scigatu                         non sopravviveva nemmeno uno steccato
cà 'e manu nostre avìanu lu 'njurìtu                    poiché le nostre mani avevano la frenesia
pped'agguantare 'e ligna chi ricùotu to grab the wood collection
avìanu chilli gìenti, chi cchiù pùotû.                     those people had, as had been!]

Zucchi per la fòcara di Casenove - 2011

Zucchi ready for FOCARA Casenove – 2011

Can, The Ligne de nue all arrubia,                        [Then, the wood stolen from us all,
venìanu the remnants spun gghìesa                        veniva davanti la chiesa deposta
and ccu 'master and Lestizza' ncatastate
                       e con maestria e rapidità accatastata
above them Zucchi. o surtandu spandute,                    sopra i ceppi, or just lying,

and dòppu ccu 'linazza lla' mpizzàte;      &nbs                    e dopo con residui del lino lì incendiati;
you're the Avissar, My readings, vidute             &Itbsp;                  se tu avessi, My player, showed

Focara vamp him the 'nu titi, le fiamme della fòcara appena un po'
averre dittu: o cari antichi riti!        dear or ancient rites;                       avresti detto: o cari antichi riti!]


Fòcara in Tomaini Anni '70. Fotografia di Serafino Antonio Nero

Linguijandu saglìanu li vampìli                                   [Flames climbed the winding
'Mbersu cielu lu e pàrc'avianu l'ale                            verso il cielo e sembravano aver le ali
and new, assettàti supra li sedìli
                                       e noi, sitting on the seats
d' 'a gghìesa, avìamu 'n'aria patriarcale.           &nbap;    della chiesa, avevamo un'aria patriarcale.

The organu s'aperia: pepole-pilu… L'organo si avviava: pepole-Pilu…
t the pastern which is beautiful sonata!           carnbsp;                           bella sonata che è la pastorale!
to pasture leads to Carmelu                                       la dolce pastorale di Carmelo

Facia our arms the fly 'n cielu!                                faceva volare le anime nostre in cielo!]

Scalini come sedili davanti alla Chiesa di Adami

Steps as seats in front of the Church of Adams

And PPEDE’ paise per, pp'ogni vallu                                  [And in every country, in each valley
'N luntane vidie' na Focarelliabove them trimmed seats;                               in lontananza vedevi una Focarelli

e ad ogn 'ammasunaru sentìe' u gallu                         e ad ogni pollaio sentivi il gallo
do: Chichiri! cchi beautiful party!                                   fare: doodle-doo! beautiful party that!]

Michele Bread masterfully describes every aspect of the preparation of fòcara. The boys, in sera, gathered outside the church to arrange times and actions, dividing the territory, to go and collect firewood from all the places where they had been spotted during the day. Even the fences themselves, places to protect the gardens, resisted, as being made of wood, finivano per diventare a loro volta preda dei cercatori.
This type of wood above and ended between biggest strains (
zucchi) that alone would never have Photography by Antonio Serafino Blackthen linazza, combing of flax waste after processing with manganese and the thistle. E’ material that provides a temporary but a flame sufficient to ignite dry wood and small, which in turn would have turned i zucchi, the true guarantor of the long duration of fòcara.

Suppose also attention to the direction "E new, assettàti supra li sedìli d’ ‘a gghìesa, avìamu ‘n'aria patriarchal ". The seats are the steps of the church, rather it is the entire perimeter of the churchyard which is raised above the plane of the square, from which the boys were watching the scene unfold met not far: across the country that was enjoying the warmth of fòcara so hard that they had made. The "patriarchal air"Is painted on the faces of young men who had passed the test initiation, established fees and mysterious code known only to older men, that those same things they had done and to whom, ultimately, young people aspired to be equated. From the square opposite the church of Adams enjoyed – then as now – a splendid view of Soveria Mannelli and St. Thomas, with their fòcare that would light up the sky at night (the largest were those of Portapiana e di Mannelli). In the distance we could distinguish, or perhaps even those of Castagna Carlopoli, anche tenuto conto del buio notturno più totale.

Panorama Soveria

The valley is visible from the Church of Adams

Fòcara di Tomaini (anni 70). Fotografia di Serafino Antonio Nero

Fòcara in Tomaini (70). Fotografia di Serafino Antonio Nero

The transport of zucchi from the woods and sometimes very distant, place with the help of a particularcarro a “traction human”, a rustic floor triangle with two axles and four wheels wood. The front axle, anchored to the floor with a pivot point of the iron, is allowed to steer if you pulled with a rope, whether operated by the driver sat with his feet on the bandwagon. In the sixties, with the availability of parts from scrapped automobiles or trucks, the wooden wheels were replaced by larfocare bearings which guaranteed high-speed asphalt, but then the wagon had become a machine to play rather than an actual means of transport for dirt roads. The copy of which follows the photograph had belonged to Flavio Tomaino, Tomaini died prematurely and living in, who worked passionately with the writer in the collection of objects to be allocated to the Museum of Decollatura Museum of Our Land.

Chariot for pumpkins, donato dal compianto Flavio Tomaino al Museo della Nostra Terra di Decollatura.

Flavio had the wagon also has a rudimentary braking system from the structure similar to that of the ox-cart, applying a wooden cross, operated by foot pedal that you see on the front, pressed against the wheels slowing the movement. Una molla garantiva il ritorno del pedale.

ParThecolare dellasse posteriore con il sistema frenante

Detail of the rear axle with the braking system

Fòcara di Casenove - 2005

FOCARA Casenove – 2005

On the competition among groups of hunters zucchi tell their stories unbelievable episodes. The rivalry was very strong among the groups of young people from neighboring villages: Casinovari contro Passaggiari, Cerrisari against VunazzariAddamari had no quarrels with the other fractions of Decollatura because of the relatively large distance between their areas and therefore vied with each other because in reality the fòcare Adami had more than one: Michael mentioned that bread was the main front of the church, but since then there was one in Census, to Pagliaia, ecc.

Among the most amazing episodes I've heard these days there is one that actually brought to trial in the Magistrates Court of Soveria Mannelli. It took place on Christmas 1949 (maybe a year before or one year after) when the young men Casenove (Decollatura) had spotted a giant zuccu in a private grove near the junction of Gesariello. The same had already taken the young Praticello because believing that the land fell within the area they were sure to be their relevance to grab the large strain. Except that, to anticipate the times, group Casenove one night decided to take action and secretly took an ox cart belonging to unsuspecting father of one of the boys, visited the site pushing it by hand. Upon reaching the place where he was an enormous strain – estimated according to the account made to me about 20 quintals – it is loaded with difficulty and was carried on the cart in front of the church Casenove. The cart was put in place no sooner than have it reCasenoveecause it had damaged the huge load I do not know which part. The next day the young people of Praticello they saw the incident and warneGrassplotr of the forest that he filed suit for theft. Soon after came before the church with the presence of the Superintendent of Police to demand the return of the great strain. He followed the trial of the three were acquitted, however, reported that, having been defended by the young lawyer Vitaliano Bonacci, which in turn used to participate in the research of zucchi. The acquittal (do not know whether for lack of evidence or for not having committed the act) poggiò sulla circostanza evidenziata dall’avvocato che non era possibile fossero loro i responsabili del furto visto l’enorme peso del legno conteso.

Another episode occurred in the 70s to the cerris regards the contention of a large zuccu between Cerrisari e Vunazzari. Both groups had attended the same zuccu in the mountains near the village Bonacci. For early arrivals, however, were those of cerris but for lzuccuwood were not able to drag him away. Let a couple of young men to guard it, cerris back to the group to find a means of transport as well as reinforcement. Meanwhile the evening and becomes Vunazzari flock from which suspicious comings and goings and discover what was happening. Then one of them climbs the wooden, not willing to step aside, whatever had happened. Here come Vunazzariorcements from cerris, that is, with its legendary Barefoot Sestino Ape three-wheeler for transport, and a young man with a chainsaw. Once set in motion, it begins to cut u zuccu into smaller pieces so you can easily load on bees. But ‘u Vunazzaru astride the wood does not turn back, as it does not stop what he saw in his hand that reaches to pull the pants of the other. At that point it gives up and abandons. He looked away with the victory of Cerrisari, who loaded up to capacity and leave the Ape. But run through a few tens of meters and hear a strange noise: una banda chiodata fatta di una tavoletta di legno irta di chiodi ha bucato tutte e tre le ruote del motCerrisarip>

Today? The advent of tractors made it easier to work; The bulldozers have uprooted zucchi in large quantities to build houses and make roads making available a large amount of raw material. But just at the time of this, there has been a decrease in social aggregation that led to the disappearance of some historical fòcare e, paradoxically, at birth than others in unconventional places. Fra quelle scomparse c’è proprio quella davanti alla chiesa di Adami.
But perhaps we are before a turnaround. In many places I saw piled
zucchi che fra pochi giorni riproporranno il secolare rito.

The night of Christmas will be nice to think that in addition to the Child Jesus, those flames, going up, rising and linguijandu, going to warm the heart of another soul, that of Michele Bread, we are all safe, will be looking, even in the dark, all’unico luogo della Terra che amava.


La fòcara di Casenove appena ultimata - 24 dicembre 2011

The newly completed FOCARA Casenove – 24 dicembre 2011

At 11,30 del 24 December the fòcara Casenove was completed. Il Chief fòcararu, Silvio Bevacqua (bottom left), asked me to let you know that he and other friends who have participated in compiling the fòcara, This year they have decided to dedicate it to the victims of the train wreck 23 December 1961, di cui quest’anno ricorre il 50° anniversario.

As for the power, Silvio sure that everything was carefully prepared. A good dry wood, cardboard and padding – who have taken the place of the odious “ofes” so popular a few years ago – ensure a good start of the flames. Il fuoco sarà dato attraverso un’apertura che è stata lasciata alla base della focara in direzione nord-ovest in modi che il vento spinga la fiamma verso il centro della catasta.

Punto di accensione della fòcara

Ignition point of FOCARA Casenove

Here is the movie from the lighting of the Mayor Decollatura, Dr. Anna Maria Cardamone, assisted by Silvio, Thomas, Mario and all other members of the group of volunteers who prepared the FOCARA:

Click here to view the embedded video.


10 gennaio 2012

Today I received this photograph of the preparation of FOCARA Novoli from Ersilio Teifreto, supporter of festivals and collaborator of the site

Fòcara di Novoli in allestimento

FOCARA Novoli under construction

I also sent a document which is available at this link: The FOCARA Novoli.

COPYRIGHT © 2012 Giuseppe Musolino

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