Carnival celebrations take place all over Puglia: in Massafra and in Gallipoli, in Manfredonia and Poggio Imperiale, you can admire processions and have fun at masquerade balls.
Particular mention goes to the Carnival of Putignano. Putignano is a town in the Province of Bari; located on the Murge Plateau, it is the home of the famous trulli and karst grottoes.
Immersed in the Itria Valley, Putignano boasts the longest Carnival of them all, beginning December 26th (St. Stephen’s Day) and ending on Mardi Gras (February 12th, 2013), with an evening parade and, finally, the “funeral” of Carnival.
The origins of this Carnival go as far back as 1394. It is one of the most ancient carnivals in Europe. It was in that year that the Knights of Malta (governors of the zone at the time), brought the relics of St. Stephen into the hinterland from their original site of preservation, St. Stephen’s Abbey in Monopoli. The aim was the protection of the Saint’s remains from the Saracens. In order to achieve this the Saints remains were brought to Putignano.
Upon the relics’ arrival, the peasants, who had been working in their vineyards, stopped working in order to to follow the procession. Once the religious ceremony had ended, the people celebrated with festive song and dance. Legend has it that a recitation in local dialect, with improvised verse and irony, gave life to their unique custom of “Propaggini.” Poets recite in dialect on a stage on the main square in Putignano, alternating one with the other for hours, and coming up with their best satirical rhymes to entertain the people during Carnival.
As with all the Carnivals, the town explodes with masks and papier-mache floats that parade the city streets in all their colorful magnificence.
For more information about this year’s program, please take a look at: http://www.carnevalediputignano.it/carnevale-di-putignano-2018-il-programma/