A Pit’ in Terranova di Pollino

This is one of eight arboreal rites of Basilicata which are renewed among the regional park of Gallipoli Cognato and the Pollino National Park, among the sacred and the profane.

Unlike the others, that of Terranova di Pollino does not celebrate the “marriage” of the trees. It remains faithful to the script during the process of tree cutting, with the highest and straightest fir tree being cut down in the days before the festival, in the town of Cugno d’Acero. This is then transported on the shoulders of local men with the help of strong bullocks.

This extraordinary ancestral ritual coincides with the feast of Sant’Antonio of Padua on 13th June, and in the afternoon of the same day, after the religious celebrations, the majestic fir—”a pit”—already pruned, is raised up and then climbed by brave men.

In the background of the various stages of the ritual of Terranova di Pollino are dances and folk songs that resonate in every corner of the town.