Another great Eugubine tradition of which I have become part is the singing in the month of May. Known as ‘Canta Maggio’ it is held on 30th April each year. Traditionally, a band of musicians and singers wended their way between the various farmhouses in the countryside, now alas there are very few who uphold the tradition.
My good friends here keep the tradition alive in their lovely farmhouse. The song is historic, and as ever in spring, the many verses are all about sex. New growth and fertility is evident everywhere. The song is ancient, and sung in dialect. The verses of which there are some 120 also relate to the area of Valdichiascio around Bellaugello Gay Guest House. Each year as somebody remembers new lines and verses, they are added, a never ending history story…
I am conscious that when booking their holiday at Bellaugello Gay Guest House guys are not thinking in their wildest dreams of such an event. From experience I know that they much appreciate the opportunity to witness first hand local traditions in which, thanks to Etain, Martin and Dave and their warm generous hospitality, my guests are able to experience first hand. We participate enthusiastically.
Everyone brings food and wine to share, and as ever the food was bountiful and exquisite. With replete stomachs and glasses well charged, Italo takes up his baton we fidget nervously and the musicians on flute, guitar and harmonica strike up the melody. It’s a catchy tune. With many laughs, smiles and tongue twisting we attempt to pronounce and sing the dialect words. We also endeavour to interpret the meaning of some of the phrases. Some are obvious, others obtuse…
At the end all are all about awakening, and ‘liasons dangereuse‘, it’s that time of year. The Oak trees, that are so abundant in Umbria are just breaking into first leaf, insects are darting from flower to flower pollinating.. Verse 40ish and a pause. Deserts are brought over from the kitchen. A vast array of delicious home baking and this year, a first at Canta Maggio, a Bellaugello speciality, our ‘Bell-augello’ cake. This is the first outing for our famous cock cake, it was so appropriate for the theme of the evening….
I learn from guests from Sweden that they too sing in dialect at this time and their songs are similarly themed. One of my guests, Jonas, gets fully into the spirit of the evening and cuts and devours the first slice of the Bellaugello cake with much aplomb 🙂
A future guest from Brazil writes me that they too sing in dialect at this time. He promises to sing with us during his stay here.
I am so happy to learn that other countries maintain these traditions and would love to hear from you, my readers of other examples. Feel free to post comments and links to your dialect songs in the box below.
Now Gubbio prepares for the 15th of May, the ‘Festa dei Ceri‘ probably the most famous and best attended local festival. Today as I write the ‘Ceri’ are being processed down from the basilica to the town hall where they will repose until the fifteenth. So another two weeks of partying commences 😉 Below is a photo of the Cero of S Ubaldo (there are three in total) being carried out of the town hall on 15th May at the commencement of the ‘Alzata‘ or erection