The Carnival of the Salento Greeks in Martignano: Functions and Symbols

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Key words
Greeks of Salento, Martignano, carnival, reconstruction of tradition, ethnolinguistic minorities, La Morte de lu Paulinu
Svetlana A. Sidneva
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +7 (495) 734-03-22
1–13, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
Associate Professor, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Regional Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Date of publication

The Carnival of the Greeks of Salento (il Carnevale della Grecìa Salentina) in the commune of Martignano is an example of a revived tradition among the ethnolinguistic minorities of southern Italy that also takes into account archaic and traditional cultural features. On the one hand, the event has a typical structure for European calendar holidays and urban carnivals. It includes such carnival ritual constants as performances with masks, processions of carts with allegorical figures, and the burning or tearing of a Carnival effigy symbolizing the declining season. On the other hand, depending on the socio-political nomenclature, rituals acquire additional meanings and new functions, and the festivities are enriched with recreated or newly established rituals. The article’s main objectives are to reveal the degree of presence of Greek elements in the Martignano Carnival and the mechanisms that the organizers of the event use to refer to its Greek identity; to determine the role of the carnival in the cultural and economic policy of Italy; and to analyze the identity of the Greeks of Salento. It is based on the author’s personal observations during the holiday in February 2013; materials from the official website of the Salentine Carnival and from the archives of the Parco Turisctico e Culturale Palmieri in Martignano; Italian media; Italian tourist sites; and works by Italian, Greek and Russian scholars.


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For citation

Sidneva S. A. The Carnival of the Salento Greeks in Martignano: Functions and Symbols. Traditional Culture. 2021. Vol. 22. No. 3. Pp. 123–135. In Russian.