Pasquarella in Umbria

Last Sunday we went to visit Cascia the birthplace of St Rita in the heart of the Sybillini mountain area to enjoy a very old tradition – a competition (Rassegna) between groups of Pasquarelle.


 Pasquarelle are groups mostly from the Umbrian villages around Norcia but also Le Marche, who visit homes and farms in the area, dancing and singing stories (in dialect) announcing the birth of Jesus – all accompanied with  ancient musical  instruments such as  fisarmonica, tamburelli (a type of drum) a triangle and wearing traditional costumes based on  historical local farming attire. Traditionally they carried with them a chest for the donation of food for supper  but today they are more likely to be sharing good food and plentiful wine together with the villagers.

This year was the thirty-eighth edition of the competition.  The formula remains the same –different groups of ‘pasquarellari’ process through the Town in traditional costume, singing as they go, before making their way to a stage set ip in the main square.  It is colourful and riotous and there is an accompanying market and demonstration of traditional skills and crafts


We were lucky enough to join some Pasquarelliari for lunch, so enjoyed a lively time with much singing and dancing, fuelled by good food and in their case, healthy doses of Grappa –to keep out the cold I was assured.


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