The traditions of Alta Val Badia:
an interesting and fun way to get to know the Ladin people!
The Ladin people carry on ancient traditions with distinct loyalty. Many of these are tied to religious festivities and wedding nuptials. Here for you are some of the most interesting ones:
La granara de saresc (also known as "granara dal belorì")
This is a typical tradition for Palm Sunday in which children go to church to have their brooms blessed that have been made with the branches of a particular plant. Upon returning home, each child hangs his or her broom on the wall in order to protect his family. However, it is important that the "granara" never falls on the floor!
Pechè (or Cufé)
During the Easter season, the male children play a game called "cufé" with coloured eggs. Each player must use the head of his egg to strike his opponent's egg. Whoever is left with his egg intact wins and gets to keep the egg of his opponent. The object of the game is to win the most eggs possible. This game is also known by the Ladin term "Segra dai Üs", which means the "Festival of Eggs".
Jì a üs – gathering eggs
The Monday after Easter, the young males of the town follow the young girls around and try to get them to give up as many of their eggs as possible. Nonetheless, the rules established say that a girl shall only give 4 eggs if she does not like the boy, 6 eggs if she is fond of him and 12 eggs if he is her boyfriend. This tradition emerged because once long ago, hard-boiled eggs were considered a delicacy.
Feast of Santa Maria dal Ciüf
Santa Maria dal Ciüf (or Santa Maria del fiore) is celebrated on 15 August. The farmers of the village gather medicinal herbs from the mountains and bring them to the church to be blessed. The basket full of flowers does not get thrown away, but rather is saved until the first storm, after which, it is burned in the oven.
Le ćiaval y la iarina (the horse and the hen)
"Ćiaval" means horse and "iarina" means hen. On 1 November of every year young boys receive pastries in the shape of a horse from their godfather while the girls receive pastries in the shape of a hen from their godmother.
La donacia (or Poscignara)
On 6 January young girls dress up as old women and go from house to house to chase away ghosts and bid farewell to the year at its end. In fact, the "donacia" is an old woman that wears very old clothes and always carries a broom and basket to take bad children away. She also has a hunchback, a big nose and just one tooth. The inhabitants of the village usually give her something to eat and drink.
The "crafuns da segra" are similar to krapfen (donuts) and cooking them is a very demanding task. The women come together the day before the village's feast day to prepare them and the youngsters in the surrounding area go from house to house to taste them. Long ago, these young wanderers used to wear masks and run noisily around the town carrying pots, bells and horns. And they would usually go to the houses where the most attractive girls lived.
SOME TRADITIONS DEDICATED TO MATRIMONY
"Fortaies" are cooked on the evening in which the groom is to arrive at the home of the bride to start their wedding preparations. Fortaies are dough made of milk, eggs and flour and cooked in spiral formation and then topped with a coating of powdered sugar. Tradition calls for the friends of the groom and the neighbours to go and steal the fortaies.
Parada & fà la sarada
On the day of the wedding, friends of the bride and groom organize actual theatrical scenes near the church where the nuptials are to take place. The idea is to convince the bride that she is about to marry the wrong person. It is customary for the bride's maid of honour to pay to have the streets blocked off from traffic.
Hats with plumes
Attending a wedding is just the right occasion for finding a possible fiancé. Nonetheless, in order to avoid any misunderstandings, all of the single men are clearly marked for recognition. In fact, all wedding guests receive a flower as a boutonniere: married men affix it on the right side while those who are not married wear it on the left. Furthermore, all of the single men also wear a hat adorned with long and colourful plumes.
La barbücia & la ćiora müla
The "barbücia" is a green flower, which is sold to the single brothers and sisters of the bride and groom. The "ćiora müla" on the other hand, is a goat that is sold to the older single brother of the bride. The sellers of barbücia and ćiora müla are young adults of the town who also delight in wearing masks for the occasion. Whoever buys the barbücia or the ćiora müla is considered by all to be either "müt vedl" (a bachelor) or "müta vedla" (a spinster).
Tò la nöcia or rubè la nöcia
During wedding festivities it is tradition for friends to kidnap the bride. She is then brought to nearby pubs where the locals eat, drink and have fun. The groom and the guests must wait for the bride to return. In the meantime, the groom must go search for her in all of the pubs and pay the tab along the way.