Saturday, July 26, 2014

Badalisc: Camunian folklore - Part II

'Baldalisc' from

Badalisc, a popular Christmas character from Italy, came into existence in the 16th century and became very famous. Scroll further for more information on this Italian Christmas character.


Have you ever heard about character of Christmas, Badalisc? Considered to be a mythological character whose origins lie in Val Camonica, Italy, Badalisc belongs to the southern central Alps. This scamp is believed to have a very unusual appearance with a big head, two horns, a gigantic mouth and bright shining eyes. It is said to wear goat skin to cover his entire body. During Christmas, while the annual town festival is being held, the person dressed like Badalisc is seized and brought to the town.

Towards the end of the festival, the creature is released and people eagerly wait for the ceremony next year. Though Badalisc reveals the gossips of the community and annoys everyone, its main aim is to prevent people from performing bad deeds. This ritual is quite similar to that of Bosinada, Bosinade or Businade, which is a satirical performance of a prose, song or poetry. Right from the 16th century, this ritual has been performed throughout northern Italy.

Badalisc - Legends and Myths

* Badalisc, also known as 'Badalisk', is a mythological character found in the southern central Alps. He is said to hail from Val Camonica and, today, it is characterized as a creature with an enormous head, shining eyes and a huge mouth; it dresses up in goat skin.

* According to the legend, this animal, which lives in the woods of Andrista, is captured by the villagers during Ephiphany, i.e. January 5 and 6. Badalisc is then tied with a rope and dragged into the village, accompanied by musicians and various masked characters. These characters include 'il giovane' (the young man), 'la vecchia' (the old woman), 'il vecchio' (the old man) along with the young signorina, who is "bait" for the animal's hunger.

* Some bearded shepherds also follow the crowd. And while some witches beat drums, a hunchback involves in a rustic duel with the creature. According to the tradition, only men take part in this ritual although some of them are dressed as women. This is because during the early times, women were forbidden from participating in any exhibitions and were not allowed to either see or hear the Badalisc's speech. Women who did hear the speech or took part in the "seize" were denied permission to attend the Holy Communion, which was held the following day.

* Badalisc's speech includes gossips about the community and is now interpreted in rhymes. Its speech is believed to reveal all the sins and the shrewdness of the community and the hunchback bangs his stick rhythmically in regular intervals during the speech.

* Followed by the speech, there is singing, dancing and feasting during which the community enjoys Badalisc polenta, a special curd sausage which is the traditional dish of the village. Until recent times, the village children used to from house to house, begging for money to get cornmeal for the polenta. During the feast, Badalisc enjoys a special place of honor.

* Towards the end of the exhibition, on the second day, Badalisc is freed and allowed to go back to the woods.

So, everybody, be careful and stay away from intentionally indulging in an ill-deed or else, you would hear Badalisc blurt it before the entire community.


No comments:

Post a Comment