Author Archives: Jocelyn Torres

Carnival – Italy

Carnival di Frascati

This is an Easter festival which is about 15 to 20 days in winter. People wear costumes during this time. The last day of the carnival, which is a Tuesday, is the most important. On this day a big statue the size of a building is put on a stake and burned. The statue is made of wood and paper. The statue imitates the Neapolitan character Pulcinella. The Frascati Pulcinella wears the all white costume like in Napoli but unlike the original it has a big penis. It is a way of mocking the Neapolitan carnival. The burning is accompanied by fireworks.

The whole day mimics a funeral sad music is played and people cry. The government and the big churches allow the people to do anything they want during the carnival, but once it is over the people of Frascati must go back to being responsible, law-abiding citizens. The people cry because their time of freedom has ended. I believe the burning of the statue signifies not only the end of freedom, but also as a representation of getting rid of authority and traditions which they have been forced to follow by the government and the dominating church.

Francesca attended the carnival when she lived in Frascati. She mentioned that it was lots of fun and that people truly cry at the end of the carnival because they are sad to be returning to work and school after having such a great time being free of responsibilities.

Fair – Italy

La Faggiolata

La Faggiolata is a fair which lasts for a week. It is a tradition practiced in the south of Rome in the city of Frascati, which is surrounded by country side. The downtown streets of the city are closed and long tables are built so that people have a place to sit. Each family that attends the fair must bring a dish from home to share with all the other people there. Typically, people eat faggioli. Faggioli is a stew made with tripe and tomato. The purpose of the fair is to meet new people. People purposely sit next to those they do not know in order to make new friends. She attended this fair in the mid 80s when she lived there.

She believes that the faggioli, which the fair is named after, is of peasant origin since the dish is not refined and because the dish was made fun of by those in higher social classes. She has attended this fair while she lived in Frascati, but did not mention whether she liked the tradition dish of faggioli.

I believe that this tradition might have started as something the peasant had to do. The sharing of the food seems like a way of giving to those less fortunate within the community. After people began to be better off, it became more a social gathering. Where women could show off their recipes, man could talk, and children could play with others.

Fair – Mexico

Feria de San Marcos– Saint Marcos Festival

This festival takes place during the entire month of April in the capital of Aguascalientes, Mexico. Veronica tells me that the entire city is shut down, and that the locals get jobs at the fair since their places of work are closed. Children love the month of April because they do not have to go to school and get to enjoy the month at the festival. She believes that the festival started because of the patron saint of this city, San Marcos. His day is marked on the Catholic Church’s calendar as April 25th, yet the people of Aguascalientes, called Hidrocalidos because of the hot springs, celebrate it during the entire month.

During the festival, there are carnival games, rides, and food. In addition, there are Folklore expositions. It is a way for the Hidrocalidos to show off those items that are typical to the region to tourists and the locals.  There are also bullfights which take place in the stadium downtown. The whole festival takes place downtown next to La Iglesia de San Marcos or St. Marcos Church. At the end of the festival, fireworks are displayed. When they are finished everyone cleans up and goes home, ready to start work and school the next day.

The festival has become extremely popular. It attracts many tourists and those wishing to return to their hometown every year. There is even a song dedicated to this festival. It is called “Alla Feria de San Marcos”. According to Veronica who attended the festival during the years she lived there, the festival has continued to grow because of the sharing of culture involved and the money it brings to the city.

I agree that the festival has grown and continues to grow because of the culture expositions and the profit made. In addition, I believe that the location of the city has a lot to do with the large crowds of tourists. Although, this city does not have beautiful landscapes, such as cities like Cancun and Acapulco, it is located in the heart of Mexico.

I attend the festival when I was about 10 and I loved it. It was like being at a Mexico themed Disney Land. There were rides, shows, and lots of people.


Franz, Carl and Havens, Lorena. The People’s Guide to Mexico. Mexico: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006. p. 310

Festivals – Romania

Hora la Prislop

A colorful traditional event, taking place in a splendid wooded mountain setting, is “Hora la Prislop.” Held mid-August at Prislop Pass, situated along the northerly road which connects Maramures with Moldavia — two culturally rich regions in northern Romania — this festival attracts people from numerous regions who come, decked out in folk costumes, to mingle and enjoy the traditional music, songs and dance. The festival is marked by religious celebrations, with people still wearing traditional dress in neighboring villages. The majority of people belong to the Romanian Orthodox faith and it is not uncommon to come across processions of worshipers carrying flowers and icons to a church or monastery in honor of a significant event in the church calendar. In villages, such people most likely will be in traditional dress.

Georgiana has not attended this festival, but she heard about it from her family members, who she believes must have attended this festival. I believe this festival might have begun as a procession, but somewhere along the years people began bringing their traditional music, attire, etc. to show to those from other regions whom they often saw in the processions.


Rennon, Rosemary. Language And Travel Guide to Romania. Hippocrene Books, 2006. p. 262

Festival – Romania

Festivalul Danitinlor de Iarna

One of the grandest winter spectacle, taking place in Romania’s northwestern corner, is the “Festivalul Datinilor de Iarna” (Winter Customs Festival), organized in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei on December 27.

Masks hang from lamp posts and people pack the streets. More masks — part demon, part animal, part indescribable — hide the faces of young men who run through the streets as oversize cowbells hanging from their waists clang loudly. Far from idle Halloween fun, masks, here, are an old tradition, symbolizing fertility, the passing and renewal of time and the good and bad aspects of human nature. By the time the procession gets underway, everyone has caught the excitement and the anticipation matches that of teens at a rock concert. Accompanied by music and “colinde” (carols), some 40 to 50 groups representing virtually every village in Maramures region (Northwestern Romania) pass along the main street. All are in traditional dress, meaning, for girls and women, stiff white blouses with fancy work and puffy sleeves; white or flowered skirts partially covered by striped woven front and back panels; head scarves; embroidered black woolen vests; thick knee-high socks; a stiff ballet-type shoe called “opinci,” which laces criss-cross fashion over the socks; and white or black wool jackets. Large homemade bags, usually of a black and white checked design, hang by long twisted wool from shoulders. Some walkers reach into these bags to toss rice or grain toward the viewers which represents both prosperity and ridding oneself of bad fortune. Boys and men don similar jackets or a white, long-haired cloak, wide white pants, loose shirts, tooled leather belts, boots and tall hats of curly black or gray wool.

When a group reaches the reviewing stand, they earn a few minutes in the spotlight for a carol, a folk dance or a tune on old instruments such as the “trambita,” an extremely long horn, or the “buhai,” a small barrel through which horsehairs are pulled. Some young men ride beautiful horses with evergreen and ribbons braided into the mane and tails and red tassels hanging from the bridle. Gorgeous handmade saddle cloths are ablaze with patterns of colorful flowers. Signaling the end, a horse-drawn sleigh filled with white-jacketed youths, musicians and of course, Santa Claus passes by the crowd. Throughout the afternoon, folk musicians, singers and dancers perform from a stage set up by city hall.

The purpose of this festival seems to be to attract good luck for the new year and prevent bad luck. I also believe it is a way of welcoming the new year which is approaching soon.


Oxford Business Group. The Report Romania 2008. p. 189