The "babbalucchi" of Maenza

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The "babbalucchi" of Maenza

The tradition of the babbalucchi, which lasted until 1949, was a dramatic and touching experience for the people of Maenza.

Do you know who the babbalucchi were? Ten villagers who were pleasant enough during the day and turned into disturbing characters at night. They were also called "big brothers" because the core of the group was formed by the four Polidori brothers.

They would gather on Maundy Thursday, at the approach of darkness, dressed completely in white, with fluttering gowns and hoods with holes for their eyes. They would stand in a circle with a lit torch in their hands and begin to sing a sorrowful, mournful chant. Silence would follow and then, suddenly, there would be a deafening crash produced by numerous groups of young men armed with "schiappe", long pieces of chestnut bark or agave sheathing, banging on the doors of Maentine houses.

A combination of singing, costumes, and noise that created an atmosphere of mystery and is an important part of Maenza's history and culture.