Carnival of Sciacca

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  • Carnevale
  • Agrigento

02/20/2020 - 02/25/2020

The Carnival of Sciacca, in the province of Agrigento, is one of the most popular and oldest events in Sicily. It probably dates back to 1616when the Duke of Ossuna, viceroy of Naples and Sicily, issued an edict that established that everyone should dress in masks on the last day of a party before Lent.

The first editions of the Carnival in Sciacca are remembered as a popular festival, in which people dressed up in various ways took to the street. At that time, so as nowadays, sausages, macaroni with tomato sauce, ricotta cannoli and lots of wine were consumed. Then, the parades of the first decorated floats were introduced, which carried on the masked people through the streets of the city. In the twenties of the twentieth century, however, the masked groups stayed on a large big platform, dragged by oxen or horses, and from there they played in local dialect with the accompaniment of small orchestras. 

From the middle of the twentieth century, the local craftsmen expert in papier-mâché, began to create moving allegorical floats, even more sophisticated, which were inspired by well-known themes and characters interpreted in a satirical way.  Even today, the days during which the floats are prepared. are accompanied by large tables, around which the workers and their families meet at the end of each day (called “schiticchio”). 

The king of the Carnival of Sciacca is "Peppe Nappa", a lazy and greedy servant who wears a crown (originally a felt hat), a big yellow collar, a tunic with green trousers and a sleeve longer than the other that hides one hand. 
During the feast, the keys of the city are symbolically given to Peppe Nappa and, from Saturday to Shrove Tuesday, the Carnival invades the entire historic center with the parade of the allegorical masks and the imposing floats in papier-mâché.

The festival ends with a burning in which Peppe Nappa and his float are burned, with whistles and hammers, according to a sort of cathartic rite.

IDo not miss the visit to the Sciacca Carnival Museum, which preserves more than a century of memories related to this event: of great value is the collection of about a hundred miniatures of the allegorical floats (representing the previous editions of the feast) made of ceramic by the skilled artists of Sciacca. In the museum there are also the papier-mâché reconstructions of some historic buildings of Sciacca and typical Sicilian food and wine products; the reconstructed elements of the allegorical floats from the past; a photo gallery of the feast (including 3D gallery) and numerous historical costumes; a section dedicated to Sciacca pottery tradition, closely connected with the art of papier-mâché decoration.