“U’ Masc’” in Pietrapertosa

The “marriage” between a Turkey oak and a tree-top, which takes place in this beautiful town in the Basilicata Dolomites, is one of the tree rituals that has been celebrated for centuries in the region.

The “U’ Masc'” festival in Pietrapertosa coincides with the celebrations in honour of Sant’Antonio on 13th June, and the ritual ends on the following weekend. The two trees are chosen and cut a few days before the feast, in the woods of Montepiano, right in the heart of the Park of Gallipoli Cognato.

Here, the “massari” (farmers) await the first light of dawn, when the “groom” and “bride”, carried by pairs of animals (paricchij), begin their long march. The evocative “union” of the plants takes place in front of the bell Tower of the Convent of San Francesco.

The event takes place before the crowd, which waits apprehensively for the raising up and the spectacular tree-climbing by a “maggiaiolo”, who, clinging to one of the ropes used to raise up the Maggio, climbs up to the top filled with prizes, moving and dancing to the rhythm of the music with his head down.

Over the next few days, the Maggio is cut down and demolished loudly on the street.