“E tu apre ’ssi cascittë – e tu pijë ’ssi cellittë – e tu apre ’ssu cascionë – e tu pijë ’ssi dice ovë” (“And you open those drawers, and you take those little birds, and you open that box, and you take those ten eggs”), sings the group of singers accepting gifts offered during the alms collection that takes place a few days before 17th January in Tossicia. Together with a glass of good wine li cellittë, biscuits filled with grape jam, represent the most common refreshment offered to the teams of singers and musicians who travel from house to house to beg for alms in honour of the “Lord of the animals”. We will join these singers and musicians during their rounds as they collect the funds and wood necessary for the success of the culminating moment of the ritual linked to the cult of Saint Anthony: the preparation of the woodpile and the lighting of the fire.
COST PER PERSON
17 - 19 January 2019
SEATS AVAILABLE: 3
LANGUAGE SPOKEN: ITA,ENG,FRA
We will immerge ourselves in the celebrations in honour of Saint Anthony the Abbot with the guide of the anthropologist Annunziata Taraschi, a member of the community and a scholar who has scrupulously analyzed the complex world that gravitates around Saint Anthony in Tossicia and in the Sicilian Valley. On the first day we will prepare the cellittë, bird-shaped biscuits which are the gastronomic symbol of this ritual festival: local housewife Alina will welcome us into her home to introduce us to the female world of home baking and she and her friends will each reveal their secret recipe. On the second day we will then learn about the alms collection, traditionally managed by the men, and we will do the rounds to visit the village families in an atmosphere of festivity and blessing . The highlight of the experience will be on the third day with the construction of the woodpile. The group of bonfire builders relies on the guidance of Mario who, with skilful mastery acquired over decades of direct participation in the ritual, initiates and coordinates the construction of the colossal woodpile dedicated to the saint of fire and domestic animals. The blessing of the bonfire by the parish priest officially starts the party evening
This cultural holiday aims to bring the participants into close contact with the complex preparations that lead up to the feast of St Anthony the Abbot, in particular the building of the ritual bonfire, allowing them to take part in the revitalization of some aspects of the custom which have fallen into disuse, such as the house to house collection of wood that had been abandoned for several decades.
Annunziata Taraschi graduated in Anthropology at the University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, having written a research thesis on the cult of Saint Anthony the Abbot on the eastern slope of the Gran Sasso Mountain which later converged into the monograph entitled “Saint Anthony the Abbot: the fire, the animals, the songs “(2009). She has collaborated with numerous research institutes and universities, edited publications and curated museum exhibitions. She has carried out research on the material culture of the Sicilian Valley for the Museum of Tossicia, Arts, Crafts and Communication. The topics covered were: copper crafts, woodworking, weaving and the local culinary tradition, and the research was carried out in the municipalities of Tossicia, Colledara, Castelli, Isola del Gran Sasso and Montorio al Vomano. Some of the results merged into the book “L’antica cucina teramana” (The traditional cooking of Teramo”), published in 2003. For the above mentioned museum she is conducting a study on the oral memory of Tossicia, recovered through family photos and interviews with the inhabitants of the town.
Moreover, she collaborates with the Sextantio Group which runs a new type of hotel called Albergo Diffuso or “scattered hotel”, in a context of tourism development based on the protection of the lesser-known heritage. She deals with the recovery of anthropological data, in particular landscape anthropology, and conducts research on living spaces, ancient building construction techniques and domestic crafts. She also explores the conservation and transmission of knowledge related to the traditional feminine world: ancient textile and embroidery practices, weaving of natural fibres and processing of yarns, through collaboration with the old artisans and young women in the Barony of Carapelle area.