Calendimaggio di Assisi

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Popular medieval re-enactment

Festa del Calendimaggio in Assisi (sometimes transcribed Kalendimaggio) is a festival which is held every first Thursday, Friday and Saturday after May 1 of each year, to celebrate spring.

Compete, to win the Palio, the two parties in which the city is divided, the Noble Upper Part and the Lower Part Magnificent, through conducting parades in medieval costumes (about the thirteenth century – mid-fifteenth), scenes recited and musical performances: to declare the winner Part is a jury, composed of internationally renowned experts, that is, a historian, a musicologist and a personality of the show.

The History of May Day

The celebration of May Day wants to resume and revive ancient pagan customs celebrating, in this period, the return of spring and then the renewal of the cycle of life, festivals and rituals used by the ancient Umbrian people.

Added to that is the tradition of the “songs of May”, compositions of poems dance and song, also attested in ancient chronicles and documents concerning the life of St. Francis (and are commemorative of his habits), but in the end medieval suffered probably the influence of Provence and the French: they were performed by brigades of young people who moved gaily in the various districts of the city, at the beginning, in fact, the month of May.

The third component of the festival dates back to the Middle Ages also, when Assisi, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, reached its maximum splendor and began the internal divisions, moreover, very present in the world of communal battles throughout Italy, including a “part of Above “and” part of Under “, belonging to the rival families and then the first of Brancaleone Nepis for the Upper Part of the Rivers and the” Lower Part. “

During these periods of civil strife, however, is always kept alive the tradition of celebrating the spring festival, which became known as May Day and during which, they used to elect a king’s feast. This tradition will continue for centuries, only to be revamped – but always respecting the tradition – in the twentieth century: in this new form completely original, it was celebrated for the first time in 1927 at the behest of the Podesta Assisi Arnaldo Fortini, when singers of different “chapels” towns gathered to sing serenades inspired costumes of yesteryear. The festival was suspended during World War II, but picked up again in 1947; in 1954, finally, on the initiative of some intellectuals the Assisi, assumed the structure that has remained unaltered. The town square is the center button of the event.

 

Conduct of the event

The festival takes place in the following way (the first of the afternoon, the second in the evening):

 

Thursday

Blessing of the banners and delivery of keys: ivessilli are blessed, for the Upper Part, at the Cathedral of San Rufino, and, for the Lower Part, at the Basilica of St. Francis; then the two parties march to the square of the City, where the Maestro de Campo receives the keys from the mayor, assuming the powers of the city; he is also returned the Palio, by the Party which has won the previous year.

Scenes Part: lescene (scenes of medieval life) are made by the Party which last year won the races of Madonna Spring; follow different events, such recitations in dialect or language of the time, shows, medieval music.

Friday

Election of Madonna Spring: ten young, five part, are candidates Madonna Spring, after a procession to the streets of the City; the Party which won the challenge of medieval games (tug of war, rides delletregge, ie slides, crossbow) can then elect among its five young: five archers, each corresponding to a girl, they compete to win their Madonna.

Scenes Part: lescene are made by the Party that the day before had not made.

Saturday

Part of marches and calls for challenge: the processions are composed of medieval stories accompanied by music and dance, the notice is a struggle with the words between the parties, acclaimed by partaioli.

Parades and evening performances of the choirs: the light of torches and flashlights Parties return to the square with the procession of the evening, after which begins the performance of the choirs, which perform three songs of defiance, after which the jury retires and processes the verdict.

Assignment of the Palio

After a wait that can last hours, the Master of the Field assigns the Palio with the following formula:

“People of the Ascended, we Maestro de Campo, taking advantage of the full power conferitici, hearing the opinion of the elected board of judges to whom we have entrusted the task to tell which of the two parties has reached most praise in contention for the chivalrous salute to the nascent Spring while we express our unreserved gratitude to the Parties for the high moral and civic test expressed in this contest, worthy of the noblest traditions of our city, we assign the Palio de Calendimaggio Part de … »

Finally the air waving his handkerchief the color of the winning side (blue for the Upper Part, red for de Sotto). Part winner receives therefore the Palio, and it will take care until the following year.