The country festivals in Salento are established events, a powerful attraction for tourists who want to discover tastes, colors, gastronomic and folk tradition of this magical land.
Country Festivals, born as social aggregator of culture, folklore and typical dishes, have established over time as a virtual container of customs of Salento, that through festivals want to share the lifestyle and local products.
Festivals are typical events in summer, a time when each Salento City hosts one or more festivals, animated by food and wine events, tasting and street markets in order to better know the local tradition.
From May to September, there’s spoiled for choice: every evening many cities organize a country festival, each with its typical dishes and his musical guests that enliven the evening.
ST. JOSEPH TABLES
On March 19 of each year in cities and towns of Salento, as Cerfignano, takes place a ritual that has its roots in the great religion of its inhabitants. The origin of the festival dates back to the dark period of the Middle Ages, where the faith was the only lifeline to cling to overcome the difficulties of life.
This ritual symbolizes the vote for a grace received, and provides for the installation in the homes of believers of long tables, where they serve the typical dishes of the local culture, products of land and sea.
Tradition states that the number of participants in the table is not less than three, to represent St. Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus, and should not exceed 13 persons, each of which has a representative function of Saints. The banquet begins at noon when the head of the table, St. Joseph, hits the floor with a stick and proceeds to the taste of the dishes together with diners, reciting a prayer. Every gesture and word takes on a strong symbolic meaning, as well as dishes that are served to diners.
The participants adhere strictly to the ritual, thus renewing their religious beliefs. At the end of lunch is delivered to the participants in the famous bread of St. Joseph, in thanks. The preparations for the festival can involve the whole country for several days, and in the day of the event the doors of the houses remain open giving the pilgrims visiting the opportunity to witness the ancient ritual and taste the dishes at the end of the meal. The Tables of St. Joseph are one of the many ways to enjoy the Salento in a totally new and alternative, considering not only its natural heritage but also the extraordinary tradition that characterizes it.
Pizzica is a popular Italian folk dance, originally from the Salento peninsula. It is part of the larger family of tarantella dances.
The traditional pizzica is danced while embracing a partner. This hug need not necessarily involve two individuals of opposite sexes, and often two women can be seen dancing together. Nowadays it has become rare to see two men dancing an entire pizzica.
There are several traditional pizzica groups, the oldest being Officina Zoé, Uccio Aloisi gruppu, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, I Tamburellisti di Torrepaduli.
NIGHT OF TARANTULA
The Night of Tarantula is focused on Pizzica, a popular folk genre in Apulia, and takes place in various municipalities in the province of Lecce and the Grecìa Salentina, especially in Melpignano. It gives great importance to the folk music tradition of ‘Taranta’ and ‘Pizzica’.
The Festival tours around Salento, normally culminating in a gran finale concert in Melpignano in August, which lasts until late at night. It has been attended by an average of 120’000 spectators. This music festival, started in 1998, an initiative of several municipalities of the Salento, which sponsored this event. Every year it appoints a new musical director.