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Schignano's Carnival (11)
14 Jan

Returns the historical Schignano’s Carnival

Schignano is a small village located between Brienno and Argegno in the Como’s province, and is famous throughout Italy for its Carnival, a theatrical carnival which takes place according to the Roman Rite, and on Saturdays and on Shrove Tuesday (the day before to ‘Ash Wednesday’,  first day of Lent according to the Catholic religion).
The special features that make it so valuable this carnival are the handmade wooden masks carried on the face, to completely hide the identity.
Schignano's Carnival (6)
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The wooden masks (usually walnut) are entirely handmade by local artists. So do not expect modern masks, but typical clothes and an event that year after year is organized thanks to the passion of many people who want to carry on these traditions.
The Carnival of Schignano’s characters 
The Carnival of Schignano takes place with a procession through the streets of the country and with a final representation. The play takes place on a small stage in the main square of the village and gives occasion to refer, ironically, the current town’s situation and of the nation in general.
Underlying all of the carnival is the contrast between two different masks: the beautiful, in local dialect “i bei” and the ugly (i “brut’),  key players representing the most classic of the social divisions: the one between rich and poor.
The beautiful
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The beautiful, also called “Mascarun”, is a superb character with the desire to excel and which flaunts wealth, that aims only to highlight his social status. He wears an expensive suit with embroidery, a large belly, the ‘bĂątasc, decorated with colored fabrics, a hat with colorful flowers and ribbons along the back. His arrival is announced to the sound of “bronze”, 4 bells tied to the belt by the fine and pleasant sound.
The ugly
Schignano's Carnival (7)
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The ugly is obviously the opposite of beautiful: the poor, battered, he wears dark dresses, often blacks. Sometimes the mask has strong features, with crooked mouths and missing teeth. He arrives with brooms, baskets or a suitcase with a few old things that drag as the migrants His arrival during the Carnival of Schignano is announced by cioche, poorly made bells made of scrap metal that sound really unpleasant.
The ciocia
Schignano's Carnival (8)
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The “ciocia”, a female figure usually played by a man, wife and servant of Mascarun, however, stays between the two protagonists. Always carrying a wool’s basket with the spindle and the distaff, she is a symbol of the fact that her must work always despite she has to follow her husband, the beautiful. The costume is poor and takes up the classic style of dress of a time: wool socks, clog, long skirt, woolen shirt shawl and headscarf. The “ciocia” is the only mask speaking: she would like to get away and yells at her husband who keeps her while he courts other women, reminding him that if he is rich is her value. The ugly often kidnap the “cioca” giving her moments of peace and serenity.
I sapor e i fĂągheta
Schignano's Carnival (10)
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“I sapor” are dressed in long sheepskins, have long whiskers and bring with them a water bottle and a wooden ax, they open and close the procession with a step similar to the gendarmes, advanced by the “fughèta”, a group of six – seven person with traditional wind instruments that are anticipating the parade.
I sigurtĂ 
Schignano's Carnival (9)
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In the middle of “sapors”, to monitor the procession there are the “sigurta”, the securit, with military cloak and hat, who knows the persons with costume and they guarantees for them.
The Carlisep
 Carnevale di Schignano (2)
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Finally we have the “Carlisep”, a puppet which hangs all the time of the carnival in the central square, but that in the end turns magically into living masks and run through all the streets of Schignano to escape the fire that will declare the end of the carnival.
Live the Schignano’s Carnival
How to choose a mask or the other? It seems there is not a specific reason to interpret a mask or another, but Schignano’s people choose who play by instinct because, as they say, ‘they have the carnival in the DNA’.
My advice, if you are in our area during the carnival, it is of course to attend and see this show. The Schignano’s Carnival is truly a unique experience and we are proud to promote and preserve these beautiful and ancient traditions.
Information and program of the event can be found at this site> carnevaledischignano

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