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February 15, 2013 / TAB

Mercu Scûrot- Borgosesia

      Beginning in 1854, Borgosesia holds one of the most historic carnevale finales after several weeks of celebrations. On Mercu Scûrot (Wednesday Obscure in Piedmontese or Ash Wednesday), a funeral procession winds its way through the city after a morning of tavern hopping. It is a festival for participants and not so much a spectator event. 

      I arrived mid-morning expecting a morning parade according to the published schedule. What I saw were groups of funeral clad people wandering from bar to bar and visiting with each other. After a couple of hours waiting, I asked a policewoman what the schedule would be for the day. She told me that the big procession would be at 2:30pm.

hanging out

hanging out

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wine holster accessory

wine holster accessory

      The traditional costume includes a tailcoat, top hat (cylinder), white gauze bowtie (frac), and a wooden spoon (cassù) used for drinking the freely poured wine. There were additions to the basic attire such as medals, ribbons, flowers, and stuffed animals. There was even an umbrella with extremely fragrant and very dead fish.

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     At the appointed afternoon hour, a small crowd began to arrive but the majority of people were the participants.  The groups wandered to and fro and I began to feel like the event was similar to herding cats. Eventually near 4:00, the band struck up a tune and the loosely formed group headed out through the town. Bringing up the end is the coffin representing the death of Carnevale. After they make the rounds,  the testimony of Peru (from the city patron, St. Peter)  is read and his mask is burned. Traditionally, fireworks had ended the evening but in past years, they have diminished and this year were eliminated. 

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wine pouring float

and grill

and grill

a splash of color from a neighboring town

a spash of color from a neighboring town

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Therese Milad / Feb 15 2013 7:31 am

    Trish thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

  2. Paula / Mar 18 2013 1:48 pm

    Very interesting events that you have attended! It has been fun to see these photos.

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