The masks of Tricarico, “l’Mash-kr” in local dialect, epitomise the “bull” and the “cow”.

A wide-brimmed hat covered with a scarf and a veil, both white, decorated with multicoloured ribbons down to the ankles, is the “cow”. A black headdress decorated with long red ribbons is the “Bull”.

The main protagonists of the Tricarico carnival give rein to their cheerfulness on 17th January, on the occasion of Sant’Antonio Abate, and on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday.

At the crack of dawn a dull and deafening sound wakes the population from their night slumber: it’s the bells, being rung loudly disguised figures announcing the start of the carnival celebrations.

The masks, operated by a “massaro” or “vaccaro” reach the church of Sant’Antonio Abate and from here the tour continues to the old town and the streets of the town, stopping at the historical districts of Rabatana, Saracen and Civita, in a procession that commemorates transhumance, seasonal migration of herds of animals.

Arranged in two rows, according to an ordered pattern, the mimic the gait of the beasts, until the “bulls” rise up, escaping the control of the “boss”, and stage a mating with the “cows”, a legacy of ancestral cultures, linked to fertility rituals.

Comune di Tricarico
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Pro Loco di Tricarico
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Fb: Il Carnevale e Le Maschere di Tricarico
Fb: Pro Loco di Tricarico