Zappata dello scarlo

The Historic Carnival of Ivrea
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Zappata dello scarlo

The Scarlo is the pole covered with heather and juniper bush burned as a ritual, but for Ivrea it is much, much more: the crackling flames that flicker round that scarlo in each quarter on Tuesday evening are a sign of vitality and a good omen left as a gift by the carnival whose ending it marks.

The Scarlo that burns in Piazza di Città is presided over by the Mugnaia who stands on her coach, with her sword held up high until the flames have completely destroyed the Scarlo. The faster the flames leap up the pole, the happier the crowd are, since it is a good omen for the year that has just begun.

According to tradition, on the last Monday morning before Lent, preceded by the Pipes and Drums and escorted by the General Staff, the General goes to where the Scarlo is to be set up, accompanied by the last couple of newly-weds of the year.

Here the Assistant Grand Chancellor standing on a stool reads out the ceremony records and using the pick and spade the couple each strike a blow at the spot on the ground where the Scarlo is to be built, while all those present recite in chorus: As pianta ‘l pic a l’uso antic