archaic carnival of dolomites

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Presentazione curata dagli studenti del Liceo “Marco Belli” di Portogruaro. Progetto Comenius “Young students in Europe” – anno scolastico 2012/2013.



  • Rites and characters from the remote pastForms of symbolic representations and ritual practices have reached us across great distances from the remote past

    Some of them survived in the eastern Veneto area of the Bellunese Dolomites


    Caracters as Redosega, Marantega (mare antiga) and Donza, the mythical Hag, correspond to Demetra, related to the underworld, can be considered the common and archaic mother of every vital form and of Carnival itself

  • Masked processionsDuring the last days the ancient Carnivals of Dolomites have the form of masked processions which, after visiting peoples homes, became great parties with masked characters, music, dancing and sharing of food.

  • ANTHROPOMORPHICCACTERSMost characters are anthropomorphic in the two types of beautiful and ugly

  • THE MATAThe most important characters are the Mata, the guide masks who lead all the other

    Probably they are part of the largest form of arlecchini/arlechin/arlechign /(from the German Hlle Knig - king of hell) that Medioeval culture consider living dead come back to life at the arrival of the new season, bringing renovation and fertility

  • The Matas Role

    They also ensure the continuity between the ancestors and their communityThey are intermediates between the earhtly world and the Divinities: their funcion is a sciamanic one

  • The names of these characters contains the Mata prefix (Matazin/Matoc/Matiel) probably derived from the latin mactus, namely crazy or mad

    They are represented in many different ways; often as the chief of a court with some auxiliaries and escorts

  • The Mata are augurs of power, force, wealth and beauty wearing gaudy clothes, gold, jewels, mirrorsUsually the chiefs are young recruits exercising power and responsability representing the new incontaminated power of the communityThey are symbols of the regeneration of the ancestorsThey collect all the food obtaioned during the ritual begging and they share it wit all the escorts

  • Clowns?The role of the accompaning characters, often clown or pagliacci, are irreproachableThey dress in dark colours or are black devils, they soil the bystanders with ashes or soot: they represent the ctonian spirits ascending from the underworld

  • CommunityThe winter masquerade higlight that they respond to profond and lasting human needs: to be part of a community

  • YOUNG STUDENTS IN EUROPEPartners: Istituto Marco Belli di Portogruaro (Italia) - Instituto de Enseanza Secudaria Xess Taboada Chivite di Vern (Spagna) - VUC di Lyngby, Copenhagen (Danimarca)

    Liceo Marco Belli di PortogruaroAnno scolastico 2012/2013