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The Badalisc Maschera del Badalisc - Andrista - Cevo (Foto Luca Giarelli).jpg
The Badalisc

The Badalisc (also Badalisk) is a mythical creature of the Val Camonica, Italy, in the southern central Alps. [1] The Badalisc is represented today as a creature with a big head covered with a goat skin, two small horns, a huge mouth and glowing eyes.

Val Camonica

Val Camonica is one of the largest valleys of the central Alps, in eastern Lombardy, Italy. It extends about 90 kilometres (56 mi) from the Tonale Pass to Corna Trentapassi, in the commune of Pisogne near Lake Iseo. It has an area of about 1,335 km2 (515 sq mi) and 118,323 inhabitants.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a Southern European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and traversed along its length by the Apennines, Italy has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi), and land area of 294,140 km2 (113,570 sq mi), and shares open land borders with France, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Southern Limestone Alps mountain range

The Southern Limestone Alps are the ranges of the Eastern Alps south of the Central Eastern Alps mainly located in northern Italy and the adjacent lands of Austria and Slovenia. The distinction from the Central Alps, where the higher peaks are located, is based on differences in geological composition. The Southern Limestone Alps extend from the Sobretta-Gavia range in Lombardy in the west to the Pohorje in Slovenia in the east.


The celebration

According to legend the Badalisc lives in the woods around the village of Andrista (commune of Cevo) and is supposed to annoy the community: each year it is captured during the period of Epiphany (5 & 6 January) and led on a rope into the village by musicians and masked characters, including il giovane (the young man), il vecchio (the old man), la vecchia (the old woman) and the young signorina, who is "bait" for the animal's lust. There are also some old witches, who beat drums, and bearded shepherds, and a hunchback (un torvo gobetto) who has a "rustic duel" with the animal. Traditionally only men take part, although some are dressed as women. In ancient times women were prohibited from participating in the exhibition, or even to see or hear the Badalisc's Speech; if they did so they would be denied Holy Communion the following day.

Cevo Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Cevo is an Italian comune in Val Camonica, province of Brescia, Lombardy, northern Italy.

Epiphany (holiday) Christian feast, public holiday in some countries

Epiphany, also Theophany, Denha, Little Christmas, or Three Kings' Day, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles. Moreover, the feast of the Epiphany, in some Western Christian denominations, also initiates the liturgical season of Epiphanytide. Eastern Christians, on the other hand, commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. Qasr el Yahud in the West Bank, and Al-Maghtas in Jordan on the east bank, is considered to be the original site of the baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist.

Kyphosis human disease

Kyphosis is an abnormally excessive convex curvature of the spine as it occurs in the thoracic and sacral regions. Kyphosis can be called roundback or Kelso's hunchback. It can result from degenerative disc disease; developmental abnormalities, most commonly Scheuermann's disease; osteoporosis with compression fractures of the vertebra; multiple myeloma; or trauma. A normal thoracic spine extends from the 1st to the 12th vertebra and should have a slight kyphotic angle, ranging from 20° to 45°. When the "roundness" of the upper spine increases past 45° it is called kyphosis or "hyperkyphosis". Scheuermann's kyphosis is the most classic form of hyperkyphosis and is the result of wedged vertebrae that develop during adolescence. The cause is not currently known and the condition appears to be multifactorial and is seen more frequently in males than females.

In the village square (formerly in a stable) the Badalisc's speech (la 'ntifunada) is read, in which the mythological animal gossips about the community. The Badalisc itself is a dumb creature, so the speech, nowadays written in rhyme, is read by an "interpreter". Once improvised, now written in advance, the speech reveals all the supposed sins and scheming of the community. During the speech the hunchback bangs his stick rhythmically at intervals.

Gossip idle talk or rumor, especially about personal or private affairs of others

Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others; the act is also known as dishing or tattling.

The speech is followed by singing, dancing and feasting. In the evening the community eats the "Badalisc polenta" (a commercial version of this traditional food was launched in 2010). [2] Until recently, village children would beg from house to house during the Badalisc celebrations for cornmeal to make the polenta; a Badalisc salami was also specially made for them. The badalisc has a place of honour at the feasts. [3]

Polenta cornmeal boiled into a porridge

Polenta is a dish of boiled cornmeal that was historically made from other grains. It may be served as a hot porridge, or it may be allowed to cool and solidify into a loaf that can be baked, fried, or grilled.

Salami cured sausage, fermented and air-dried meat

Salami is a type of cured sausage consisting of fermented and air-dried meat, typically pork. Historically, salami was popular among southern, eastern, and central European peasants because it can be stored at room temperature for up to 40 days once cut, supplementing a potentially meager or inconsistent supply of fresh meat. Countries and regions across Europe make their own traditional varieties of salami.

On the second day, at the end of the exhibition, the Badalisc is set free and allowed to return to the woods. [4]

The ritual has strong similarities with the Bosinada, Bosinade or Businade, satirical performances of prose, poetry or song, in which a storyteller (the Bosin) denounced the misdeeds of the community. Known from the 16th century, these were once widespread throughout northern Italy and derived from the purification rituals of New Year's Eve. [5]

New Years Eve holiday celebrated on 31 December

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year's Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year's Day, 1 January.

Any link between the Badalisk of Andrista and the mythical Basilisk (half lizard, half serpent, with a head like a cat, but squarer, like a toad) that incinerates everything on which it rests its gaze (well known in Cevo and elsewhere in northern Italy) is unclear.

See also

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  1. "Festa del Badalisc ad Andrista (località di Cevo)" (in Italian). Retrieved 2011-01-03.
  2. Bresciaoggi: tradizioni_il_badalisc_diventa_una_occasione_gastronomica Accessed 21 Dec 2011
  3. Accessed 21 Dec 2011
  4. Wikinews (Italy) Andrista: catturato il «Badalisc», inizia la festa Monday 5 Jan 2009, Wikinews
  5. Barozzi, Giancorrado & Varini, Mario, Tradizioni popolari del ciclo dell'anno in provincia di Brescia, Fondazione Civiltà Bresciana, 2001