Putignano Carnival, a municipality of the Alta Murgia National Park in Apulia, is one of the oldest carnivals in Europe, which dates back to the Middle Ages. Tradition dates the year of its establishment to 1394, the year in which the Knights of Malta moved the relics of Saint Stephen the Martyr from the Castle of Monopoli towards the hinterland, more precisely, in Putignano, which represented a safer place. When the peasants saw the knights arrive, left the fields where they were working, to go to dance and recite satirical verses and make jokes in dialect.
Also Putignano Carnival has its own typical mask, which is the Farinella. This mask takes its name from a typical dish of this area based on barley and chickpeas, a kind of focaccia. Farinella’s dress is multicoloured and it wears a two-pointed hat with rattles, it reminds the mask of Harlequin. It is said that in ancient times the dress of Farinella was red and blue, the colour f the flag and that its hat was three-pointed, indicating the hills of Putignano.
Putignano Carnival lasts very long, it starts from the 26th December evening with the ceremony of candle exchange, during which people bring a candle in the church to ask for forgiveness in advance for the sins they will commit during the carnival. During the same evening there is the Propaggini feast, a satirical play in verses in rhymes and in dialect about salient events happened during the year and gossips about the powerful people of the territory.
If reading this article has inspired you to visit this funny city, we recommend you the tour Murge Territory. You can also read the articles Gioia del Colle Primitivo, Ancient art of bread making