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La Baca

La Baca is not the Halloween pumpkin. The "grandparents" of Umberto I and the neighboring countryside still remember how for the day of the dead the tradition was to carve the pumpkin in an anthropomorphic form and insert a candle inside on the night between the first and the second of November. The Anglo-Saxon tradition of Halloween for the day of the Saints has replaced  also the memory of this Umbertidese custom.


We are looking for anecdotes, photos and memories to "bring it back" to memory.

Most likely making the "baca" is not an imported or revived "young" tradition  from the Anglo-Saxon one because there are analogous ancient traditions of the use of the pumpkin, with a similar function and in the same period, in other parts of Italy. For example, we mention the tradition of the " Fucacoste and Cocce Priatorje " of the town of Orsara di Puglia.  " bonfire and heads of Purgatory ". In all the streets of the town of Orsara we read on the site of the " Italian network of popular culture " on the 2nd of November  " There is a burning sheaf and hanging anthropomorphic pumpkins. This is not Halloween, but an event that highlights the memory of the deceased. The characterizing element is the broom, a shrub that easily evaporates in flames, symbolizing the bond heaven-earth to our eyes. It is the belief that the souls of the deceased, returning to the living, visit relatives and return to their earthly homes, get warm and continue their wanderings throughout the night. The lit pumpkin would indicate to the deceased the house where he lived. In honor of the dead, poor but symbolic foods are eaten. ".

Similarly happened in Sardinia: the pumpkin, "sa crocoriga",  carved was the  “Sa conca 'e mortu” and was exhibited on the night of November 1st, “in notte de su primu de donniassantu”.


In short, this too is one of the traditional aspects that we intend to investigate ... always with your help!

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