The “‘ndenna” and the “cunocchia” of Castelsaraceno

The “Marriage of the trees”, in Basilicata, is also celebrated in Castelsaraceno during the first three Sundays in June, on the occasion of the feast of Sant’Antonio.

The “‘ndenna” and the “cunocchia”, a beech tree trunk and the top of a pine tree, “meet” for the first time on the third Sunday in June, when their marriage is enshrined in front of a few “witnesses”, as a symbol of the intimacy of the moment.

The first Sunday in June is the day of the “Antenna”, when men drive their tractors toward Favino, at the foot of the Alps in the Pollino National Park, and find the most beautiful beech tree, before cutting it down with by chainsaws.

Equal honour is given to the “Cunocchia”; in the midst of songs, dances and lavish lunches, it is chosen and cut on the second Sunday in June on Mount Armizzone. In both instances, lots are cast to decide who will have the honour of carrying the “groom” and “bride”, respectively, before the Saint.

Then, on the third Sunday of June, in the square of Sant’Antonio, the sacred and the profane come together in the magic of faith. Through strenuous and fascinating maneuvers, the tree-top is placed on top of the beech. Standing straight, the “’Ndenna” appears as a giant emerging from the ground.

The tree, cut down on the Feast of the Mountain—another interesting event celebrated in Castelsaraceno—goes to who wins when the lots are cast!