Sunday, April 26, 2009

Italy's Independence Day

Yesterday was Italy's Independence Day.  It was on that day when they were liberated from Nazi Germany.  All stores were closed, everyone had the day off.  It was a tradition to go to a neighboring village, Panzano, to see their festival and parade.  I was thinking flags, a sparkler or two, maybe some popcorn--I was dead wrong.
It turns out that to celebrate this day of independence, Panzano hosts a reenactment of a related? event.  I arrived at Panzano just in time for the parade.  There was a drum band, and some trumpeters, but no one was smiling.  Actually, everyone looked very disturbed.  The band was followed by a lot of people in Medievil costumes-kind of like the Renaissance festival.  They seemed to be grouped into families of some sort, but each one was very serious.  At the tail end of the parade were two boys being dragged and whipped.  They were screaming in Italian, and I am sure the whip was soft, but it was very convincing.  The parade went from the Church to the square then returned to the Church.  At this point, there was a play.  I, of course, didn't catch any of it, therefore probably missing the significance of the event entirely.  But the kids  were pulled to a stage area where one was hanged.  Yes, hanged.  The whole shabang, rope and the bag over his head and everything.  It was very well done--he must have had a hook on the back of his costume, because his feet were a good three feet off the ground.  He even shook a bit when they kicked the stand out from under him.  The crowd clapped and laughed and commented on the performance.  
Again, I have yet to figure out what the hell this was, and how it had any connection to the freeing of Italy from the Nazis.  Any ideas?  

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