Carnival in Grauno

04 February 2020

From 21st to 25th February 2020 the small village of Grauno in the Valle di Cembra valley celebrates a very unusual Carnival. The main character is a tree, and its symbolic and propitiatory meaning dates back to the pre-Christian times. Preparations start on the Twelfth Night, when all the boys who have reached the 18 year of age go to the forest and cut some pine branches, which will be used to decorate all fountains in the village.

They continue a few days before Mardi Gras, with an "expedition" in the forest looking for the biggest and the most beautiful pine tree. This is felled, its branches are cut and the log is dragged to the village, where a small comedy is staged, with the latest husband of the year baptizing the pine tree with a small branch dipped in wine.

Using some ropes, all villagers drag the big tree out of the village and into the bùsa del carnevàl (Carnival hole), where it will be covered with straw. At dusk, when the bells ring the Ave Maria, the latest husband of the year sets it on fire, and the night goes on with music and dances around the bonfire, whereas old people make forecasts for the new year observing the direction of the sparks.