Every year during the Carnival week Castiglione Messer Marino, a tiny village in the province of Chieti, hosts “La mascra” (i.e. the mask). On Sunday before Mardi Gras people – only men – dress up and parade along the village streets and drag everybody into the hectic and wild Carnival atmosphere. The parade is led by the pulgenèlle, whose leader plays the part of the “master of ceremonies” and manages the whole parade.
White-dressed “pulgenèlle” carry their “scrujazze” (herdsman’s whip) and cowbells, take the scene with their huge headgear – it can weigh up to 14 kg – and other characters follow: Carnevale, loaded with sausages and foodstuff, Il Monaco (the Monk) and the Wine Cart. Pulgenelle decide the path to follow and the stops to be made for a drink or for some food. During the stops they play some comic sketches about recent politics or current events, music is played live by marching bands.
A typical dish of this period is “sagne a lu cuttéure”, short pasta that tradition requires to be eaten with bare hands. True Castiglione people do not use cutlery!