Thursday, January 14, 2010

Brusalavecia: A Traditional Celebration of the New Year in Verona

On January 6th, I witnessed a special celebration in Verona. The day was a celebration of Ephiphany, and all things were closed.

In the early evening, a special even took place in Piazza Bra, where the Roman Arena is located.

A figure of an old witch-like woman was constructed, and the intent was to celebrate the new year, by burning her and all she stood for.

Here you see her, carrying a bag of goods on her back.

The piazza was packed (as you can see below), and children were in attendance with their families. A ceremony took place, with a drumming performance, many discussions (most of which I did not understand), and then the burning ceremony.

In short, the burning of the old woman signifies the end of all the bad things of the year closing, and the beginning of all the good things in the New Year.
Here you see a view of the old woman (from behind, as this is where I managed to squeeze into a spot).

Below you see her burning.

Below I have translated (with my best efforts), the information presented in a brief flyer I found at the tourist office.

Events like the Brusalavecia are the reason one travels: to witness the moments in life, and the celebrations of people in different countries.

In English (my translation)
All people of earth and every latitude celebrate diversely, but more or less the in same manner, the passage of the bad to the good season, the reawakening of nature, the end of an old year and the beginning of the new light of day which conquers over the dark of the night.

The use of fire, in particular, which belongs to a tradition full of significant symbolism and religion, but that has a practical use; to clean the country of its remaining wastes and with the ashes, it fertilizes the ground to therefore produce new fruits.

Carrying an old widespread tradition of the valleys and their surrounding mountains to the heart of the city is a symbolic manner of approach the place of our region.

In Italian
Tutti i popoli della terra ad ogni latitudine celebrano in forme diverse ma più o meno nello stesso periodo it passaggio dalla cattiva alla buona stagione, it risveglio della natura, la fine dell’anno vecchio e l’inizio del nuovo la luce del giorno che prende il sopravvento sul buio della notte.

L’uso del fucco, in particolare, apparetiene ad una tradizione piena di significati simbolici e religioso, ma che ha anche un’utilità practica; si ripulisce la campagna dai suio resti rinsecchiti e con le ceneri si fertilizza la terra perchè produca nuovi frutti.

Riportare un’antica tradizione diffusa neele valli e sui monti circostanti, nel cuore della città, è un modo simbolico di avvicinare il capuluogo al suo territorio.

Tutti I materiali utilizzati sono naturali e in gran parte provenienti dale areee vallive della bassa veronese e dai monti Lessini.

And some more pictures.

After.. you could watch families skate in the man-made rink in front of the Roman arena.

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