The poem "Forebandìta»Was published by Michele Pane in the volume"Peccati (Sins)» released in 1917 at the publishing house The Emporium Press of New York.

The book is divided into two parts. the first, preceded by the title Peccati (Sins), contains the poems, for content, more properly suited to the title chosen for the entire volume ’. These are the famous erotic poems that belong to a specific period in the life of the poet, When, now in America for years, recalls his youthful adventures with beautiful fellow villagers. The second part is preceded by the title Calavrisella It is perhaps the nucleus of what was to have been published several times claimed but never completed.

copertina "Peccati"

While agreeing with the overall volume of the theme of love - and perhaps more than love - this second part which is composed of only two poems, looks more like a ’ triumph of beauty and sensuality of a girl, of course, but no more than that. Despite the Fiery words that the poet dedicates the monument of female beauty, embodied by Bandera, I do not think we can equate to other poems Peccati (Sins) This Forebandìta, and they rightly Michele Pane in the second part of public Peccati (Sins).

To fully understand the meaning of it would be necessary to know all the terms used by Michele bread and whose translation into Italian is not always able to make the full meaning. Forebandita doesn't mean properly "outlaw" because that girl doesn't live like brigantesse with a rifle slung over his shoulder and not the Davies No one wanted. It’ a term of Endearment that, Maybe, We could compare to that of the "Bersagliera», the girl who was turning heads at Marshal Canning-De Sica in the famous film of Comencini. But the resemblance cannot hold up to the end because if la Bersagliera-Sara is a cute girl but modest in ’ attitude, in dress and deportment for its modest economic conditions, Bandera instead is conscious of his beauty and proudly displays, It refined attire that exalts the features.

Even a ’ else Bandera is aware and says so explicitly to the poet-student-suitor: the difference in economic conditions among their families would prevent their bond. But this awareness does not prevent the girl to give in to the insistent courtship of her lover, and follow him to spend a night with him, running out of the country, hiding between ravines and with the company of crickets and the noise of ’ water. The final lines "l ’ amure càngia; but spends all life!», “l love changes ’ but in the meantime life goes!“, report l ’ author to his everyday reality, as distant and different from the happy times of youth.

Scenari Visibili

This poem was one of those chosen by ’ actor Dario company Christmas Visible scenarios Lamezia Terme for’theatrical action entitled 'Maicu Man» which was held in the historic center of Adams the day 7 August 2016. Dario Christmas proved to be a leading interpreter of texts of Michael Pane. L’action was held in front of the House where they had lived the brothers Luigi and Rosarino Costanzo, his dearest friends of youth, in one of the streets that the poet who knows how much and how many times will have traveled.

Articolo Maicu Man

L ’ interpretation was superb and the text followed that of poetry, except for a few minor essential adaptation. What I propose below is the video I shot on that occasion and I have inserted captions with verses recited by Christmas and the translation in Italian, hoping to make something pleasant to those who was not present at the same theater company.

Giuseppe Musolino



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‘A tabacchera

‘A tabacchera



Poetry ‘A tabacchera (The snuff) Michele bread was first published in Trilogia (1901), his debut in poetry, If you exclude L'uominu russu del 1899 that was a work of a different kind.


Copertina Trilogia

Trilogy Cover

The title of the book comes from the same content and that is by only three poems that are part of (see the related article), namely ‘A tabacchera, ' A phlegm, ' U dobotte.

‘A tabacchera is the opening poem and is dedicated to Riccardo Cordiferro, the American friend of Calabrian origin with which Michael bread was linked from the earliest years of residence in New York where he directed Cordiferro The madness of New York.

Riccardo Cordiferro

Riccardo Cordiferro

The theme is the praise of snuff, faithful companion that does not betray, friend of sad moments that were not in the life of its owner, the same Michele Pane. Now it should be noted that when it publishes poetry Michele Pane has 25 anni. It’ in the prime of youth, still lives his beloved mother, It has everything a future ahead of, Yet it seems written with a tone of regret and bitterness of those in old age to look back hand vitaanniggitagli, slipped away without offering him any happiness. You can tell whether it's a prophetic poem, because nothing would change if it had been written at the end of life, at the age of 70 anni, as can be seen from the fiction of the verses in which he claims to have her speaking with him for more than fifty years.

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Azzarelleide is a poem first published in Viole e ortiche nel 1906 but it had been composed for many years. The first advertisement on the back cover of Trilogia published in 1901 which it reads "Forthcoming: Azzarelleide (Vrogniata in a major)».

Quarta di copertina di Trilogia

Back cover by Trilogy

You are not very far from the truth if we assume that Azzarelleide It was composed during the same period, de L'uominu russu with which it shares the same themes and, Maybe, even the characters themselves.

In Viole e ortiche is part of Nettles, and then he stands in the tradition of the works against evil men and greedy, taking advantage of their position to treat their business going against morality and justice.



And we come to the substance of the work. First of all, the title. It’ obvious reference to an epic work suggested by the suffix-eide who wants to invoke the Aeneid, or maybe even the irreverent Ceceide Vincenzo Admire. The character that you are telling the “heroic” events is Azzarielllu, none other than the son of Mars! Bread definitely refers to another person, a man of flesh and blood who wants to teasing — as had happened with L'uominu russu — but who can treat is a real mystery. Maybe they could understand contemporaries from some reference but it is too difficult, indeed impossible, decode.

Focusing on the subtitle «Vrogniàta» there in a major is that writing and deepen.
The vrogniàta: But what is? It’ a word invented by Michele Pane itself starting from vrogna. The vrogna (“brogna” in Italian) is a primitive musical instrument, a great shell used as a horn. You typically used the shell of Triton nodiferum, arriving at a size of 30-40 '', who wants to mythology was used by Triton to agitate or appease the waters. One example is the statue of Bernini's fontana del Tritone in Piazza Barberini in Rome where Triton is represented in the Act of blowing in a «vrogna» also called «whelk» (from mouth) from which flows a gush of water.

Fontana del Tritone - Roma

Triton fountain - Rome

The vrogna is a tool originally used by coastal populations, then passed also at internal countries. Here, then, given the difficulty of obtaining the shell, It was slowly replaced by a similar instrument made from Horn of animals such as cattle that in ancient races had gigantic. The sound it produces the vrogna is a low-pitched but has the characteristic of propagation over long distances, a feature that it shares with the Alphorn (that sort of long pipe), and all the other horns used particularly in the mountains as a means of communication between people (especially as a signal of danger or kick off some activity) or to lure flocks.


The guardian of the pigs while playing "vrogna"

Here is an example of a ' vrogna» (registration of 1961 performed in Syracuse):


An interesting connection with the «vrogna» exists in the etymology of the name of the country of Brognaturo, in the province of Vibo Valentia, where there is an obvious connection between the instrument and the proper name of the locality derived from the condition of being a place where wild horses were pastured animals (probably pigs) which were then recalled with special instrument (see the interesting study published here)

Play vrogna It says vrogniare, How did the Shepherd or swineherd who were playing the Horn to recall campaigns and gather their animals. Hence was born the figurative use of the word vrogniare that is equivalent to "go to trumpeting"that is going around telling aloud unedifying stuff about someone. I mean "shaming», that is the intent of Michele Pane.

Part I, After the dedication, start with these verses:

MO’ s ' ùsanu the trumbe and vrigogna

beeping with this march’ LLA vrogna.

And here begins the narration of the story of the character which is dedicated to the opera, Azzariellu, starting from his birth up to companies that would have been most unlikely.
The name Azzariellu is short for azzaru, “steel”, so should a man strong and courageous, but it is not so as you can see from his deeds quixotic.
Comment the whole poem is a company that goes out from this site too purposes because, as mentioned above, references to people and events are too obscure and no one has ever attempted the feat to dig deep in the verses to what you hide. What you can do here is to provide a summary of the stanzas hoping that sooner or later something more, Besides the literal meaning, you are able to decipher.



Azzariellu, son of Mars, It was the last of four brothers. The first was called Spavìentu (Fright), was quick more wind just like a bird of prey.
But it was accustomed to the wine that he preferred to fight and therefore the father wasn't very happy.
The second brother was called Cacacchiu (FIFA) and was skilled in rifle shooting. If he went out hunting, the blood flowed in rivers but also by the father was unhappy for reasons you can't say (So says the poet).
The third was called Felton, Great Tales told from an early age, and then the father felt he had not give him command of the military teams who had at his command.
In fact, the task of controlling these teams of men was given the last born, just l’Azzariellu where the work is dedicated.


Azzariellu so he dresses and authority in charge of the people who had failed to enlist (playing vrogna to draw attention).
In the following verses Michele Pane describes the size of the hyperbolic militareschi accessories that you equip Azzariellu: sword of a Quintal, Backpack is made with the skin of an entire horse, capable of holding as bread produced in four furnaces, bullets as a pork chop (croquette), ecc.
So with goes to the Dragon attack, a terrible monster with seven heads, hiding in a cave in the village Sorbello, an area near the village of Decollatura Step.
The reason for choosing this location is impossible to understand with what we know (in fact we don't know) today.


Azzariellu then arrives at the entrance of the cave where the Dragon, seeing him get, He was already dead from fear.
Enters Captain cave Azzariellu, gun in hand, and in the light of the candle lit by aide (the slave —scavu— is written in verse) the Dragon appears dead for terror.
Azzariellu order to Flay the Monster's aide after he himself with the sword has divided into two.
That he served to make leather a fur for a team that acquires superhuman powers and win all the causes, as a lawyer and, Maybe, also a politician.
With this reference comes out Michele Pane, making explicit (It does so even more in the following verses) the reference to greedy and greedy men, in any way contiguous to the power that holds the city of Decollatura at that time. And in fact, shredding and slicing the beast, Azzariellu situated in a fold of the gigantic gut, nothing less than an entire building, the Town Hall! Had been completely stripped from the monster!
To pay tribute to his other friends, Azzariellu detach from the body of the Dragon an ear, grease grease boots, ecc.


The success of Azzariellu was not complete. The treasure was missing that there still remains protected by a spell.
After taking what he needed, Azzariellu He rolled out of the cave, down the slope, the remains of the monster and only remained a big tooth cave.
And is that the dog tooth of the poet found when, chasing a ferret, It penetrated into the cave.
Today, that pointed tooth, “I use it myself” — the poet says —. To sting!


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Tora is one of the most beautiful, known and appreciated poems by Michele Pane. The beauty is the delicacy of feelings and words chosen to express them. The description of the figure then Tora is one of the most successful of the poet.
Tora is an old woman who lived near the House of Bread and is certainly a person really existed that probably helped the poet's family with the housework, even in those of the garden. Is not necessarily was their service person, as you might infer from the fact that carried some bundle of wood when he went in the House, because in relationships that are established between the people of a small town, There are only those related to “contracts” but subordinating economic, Luckily, even those “social” and affective. Tora then could have a thousand other reasons to be loyal to the family bread and go daily to visit and share the cold and or a little’ heat generated by the bundle of twigs which it bore. And then the egg, the gift that his chickens from the granted and that she wore in a House that eggs could obtain them otherwise, raising your own chickens, but that she wore as a sign of friendship. So why think, as almost everyone has done, that Tora was a domestic species – nothing strange, in any case – and not just a person related by affection and friendship to Serafina and his sons. A person who, Perhaps because without family, had the desire to be together with others, people with whom to share what little they had. And certainly the generosity is in one direction only, Maybe she will get something he needed, first of all the affection and, then, a poem which has immortalized! This type of report, incomprehensible to someone, was widespread at one time, and was maintained in many cases still: people that bind families with whom they establish a relationship of friendship, neighbourhood policy, disinterested attendance. Here's, Perhaps this might be the most appropriate framework in which to place the figure of Tora.

Vecchia con un rosario - Paul Cézanne

The poem was published in Italy for the first time in the collection Accuordi. Stroffe ' ncalavrise printed in Naples at the Publisher in the Box 1911. It is said to have been the first publication of poetry, Since Michele Pane had published something on The madness of New York and other American newspapers. Not having a chance to check it out (and as you might?) I will just report it as hypothesis, but it does not change the fact that both the 1911 the year is deemed published poetry Tora .

The poem is dedicated " To my dear sweet mother and sisters far away »

Quandu viernu lu cc was vuòra
cold, or jazzava,
Chilla bon soul cara de Tora
pped & #8217; every jurnu I visited.

Venìadi priestu the old woman
and portavadi ' na Saad
PPE’ NI ' nde nue ' na blaze.

And certain vote me dicìa: CARU,
Te’ the ovicelle;
ensure puocu, fìgliuma, CA mo’ scacarû
(the vijad'ecate!) the bantams.

When there was no winter bora
cold, or snowing,
that good dear soul of Tora
every day we visited.

Coming soon the old woman
and bringing us homosexuals
to make a flush.

And sometimes I used to say: Dear,
Here the eggs;
little son, My son, because now I'm isterilite
(Sian blasted!) the bantams.


On these early verses lingers particularly Chani, the priest friend and man of culture by Michele Pane, in his The poetry of Michael bread del 1953, released as a tribute to his friend just disappeared. For him Tora "poetry is molded with authentic Greek purity. The heart of good old woman, in winter, braving the North wind or snow, was bringing ” na Saad”, a dried sprigs manata, “PPE’ NI ' nde nue ' na blaze” and even fresh eggs that had loving garbo, apologizing to their smallness and cursing at “bantams” that in the cold isteriliscono, couldn't be better painting: heart “tennaru – cumulative ' nu friscu gigliu of April”».
Beautiful words chosen to describe the arrival in Tora and things she wore as a gift: the few eggs his chickens still gave a little’ of wood to keep warm But is a temporary heating, a “Blaze”, one that is able to offer a “Saad”, a small bundle of dried twigs, remedied somehow. Maybe dried twigs off a low tree or harvested for Earth, detached from the icy winds from the highest branches, or some old vine, retained from the previous year, able to offer only an ephemeral heating; In short, a fluke!

And then the eggs, Indeed “ovicelle” that Don Luigi rightly said to be untranslatable: and how to translate it? the eggs ? No!, today would mean another thing! It’ a diminutive justified by the partner who is a child (It is to him that Tora donates eggs) and the affection and care with which are brought to their intrinsic symbolic and nutritional value. And then there are those poor chickens, cold death, they too, and without food. And yes because the hens, a time, were not sure kept inside a chicken coop and fed with cereals! for them, even kitchen scraps, simply because there were leftovers from the kitchen and then the pig would have had precedence: No, the chickens were to get out of their ammasunaru and walk around to get their food. All postcards and photographs taken in the countries and even in larger centres such as Nicastro, at least the most popular streets, until after the 1960s, always see some chicken that freely razzola the streets looking for something to eat. And to distinguish from those of their neighbors, women used to tie a colored cloth tape to a wing as mark clearly visible and avoid disputes with neighbouring property. With the arrival of winter food availability decreases dramatically; There is more grass or anything else to make up for the streets and the snow off all hope. For this reason suspend hens winter spawning, isteriliscono not permanently, but “scacanu”, become unproductive temporarily and reversibly. “Scacare” means misfire, wrong shot – also in the game – and that is why the last born in a litter (of chicks, or bird dogs), are told ” scacaturu “, destined to succumb overwhelmed the vigor of brothers who systematically and relentlessly plundering food resources available.
The curse ” the vijad'ecate “, that don Luigi results in “are cursed”, is an expression not as malevolent as the literal translation would seem to suggest. The word Hecate originates from the identical name Hecate, Goddess of death or, better, the goddess who is able to bring the world of the living with the dead. The meaning, then, by ” the vijad'ecate ” can be correctly understood as “go to hell”.

Chani thus introduces the subsequent verses commentary: «Vien, After, the physical portrait with reminder of faded beauty; now, Here she is, curve, dried, Rugosa: However full of sweetness native»:

Tora passed forsi ccu'll ' years
the ninety,
but nun sapíadi cchi Ssu ailments,
never #8216; provatu & Avia na medicine.

& #8216; #8216; cuntuorni fòdi de Icica & sti
the cchiù clean
Alli on times: (vòlanu the juorni
Baker d’ ' in our life povara!)

ER ' arriddutta ' na croccarella
Moni is ntostata;
restàte the bones and eranu pella
and avìa lla Isaac still faces.

Tora spent maybe over the years
the ninety,
but he did not know what are the diseases,
had never taken a medicine.

It is said that it was these surroundings
the most beautiful
in his time (flying days
beautiful in our poor life!)

Curve was reduced
now, hardened;
restate the were the bones and skin
and had her face all wrinkled.

Tora was old, Yes!, Rugosa, even!, But what a wonderful figure: «When he spoke, that enchantment! Loquacity festive, friendly, lit by maternal face. Smiling and charming sweetness even in common diminutives untranslatable: “Saad” “ovicelle” “bantams” “friddiciellu” “parachiellu” “missicella” “old woman”. […] This celebration, simple and high, Spira that sense of sympathy and regret that it appears as a bright symbolic figuration and Immortelle under the patriarchal most humble people and healthier».

' Mperò tenìadi illa lu core
always friendly;
' nu tènnaru core tenìadi anchors
cumulative ' nu friscu gigliu of April.

Grim reaper sientu mo & #8217;: – Bontrovàti!
Vue cchi facìti?
Vue States cumu? Vue States cumu?
Stu friddiciellu nu ' llu sentìti?

Nue rispundíamu: Ball!
read, allumàmu:
pperchídi, or Tora, you are lost?
MO’ Ven ' assèttate, CA ne scarfàmu.

And yet she had the heart
always friendly;
He still had a soft heart
as a fresh Lily d & #8217; April.

I hear you now: -Welcome back!
What do you do?
How are you? How are you?
This freddicello you do not feel?

We answered: Welcome!
soon, fire light:
because, or Tora, you didn't come for a long time?
now come and sit, We heat.

Tora comes maybe not seen in that House for a long time, accepted by the words, then as now, underline the absence exaggerated by the regret of not having enjoyed his presence: ” you lost?”, “you lost?” And lights the fire, to celebrate, since before it was turned off, for the sadness that hovered in the House and the chronic lack of fuel, having reserved the little wood to cooking the food and not to warm the bodies of cold family, as you would have to. If you do not understand this atavistic lack of heat, This never satiated hunger restoring heat winter days in terrible, you do not understand the meaning that has taken over time the image of the family gathered around the fireplace at which Michael has dedicated many Bread lines.
Lit so the fire, the atmosphere dissolves, you start talking in a more cheerful atmosphere:

And LLA, Johan ' allu vancariellu
d’ ' u focularu,
smell me dicìadi: – Figliuma biellu,
cce you prievite?

fígliuma caru,fattícce prievite, CA CEC reservations mieri
pperchì Yes biellu;
nu’ stay in sèntere ss ' àutri lampman,
you have to do ' nu parachiellu —

Puru me say na missicella
quandu pue muoru;
rifríschi soul d’ ' a vecchiarella "
that is ' m purgatoriu, Duce ristuaru! –

– Quandu you the minutes suppellizza
PUE Sarah parcel to Tora, Noni bellizza?
the old woman tandu orvicata! –

And there, sitting on the panchettino
the hearth,
then he told me: – My beautiful son,
it becomes priest?

My dear son, fattici priest, well that there appears
because you're cute;
don't listen to those other slackers,
You must become a priest —

I can say a mass
and when I die;
rinfrescherai the soul of old lady
that is in purgatory, sweet refreshment! –

– When you wear the cassock
then think of Tora, isn't it nice to my?
the old lady then will be buried! –

Tora already sees Michael Pane suit with frock del prete, or at least that's what the wishes and hopes. Imagine a future for a young priest was a good omen and a compliment. It would be to have a personal prestige, a position of respect and also, Let's face it, a secure economic position. The family of Michael Pane there had already been two paternal uncles priests, Michele e Antonio, that Tora, given its age, She had to have known. It would not be far-fetched even then for the young Michael embrace the same career, and Tora then launched a hope that in other circumstances would have had great probability of occurrence. In addition invites Michael to Tora does not give too much listening to other young time wasters (dogs lampman , i.e. as the greyhounds, they run faster but they are not useful to man because they do not work as they do sheepdogs, guard dogs or hunting), young people with whom Michael spent his days in the country.

But the young Michael wants to change the subject: does not like the talk about its future as a priest and even the death of Tora:


No, Parra of àutru, Oi Tora mia,
in my perduna;
prieviti them to the Lassa sacristia,
' mpàrame, ' mpàrame ' na canzuna;

CA pue the trimming I ' quatrara
CCU’ LLA phlegm,
quandu me fazzu ' rande: dear to me
cchiù ' na furracchia, CA la Chimere.

It's a parrare, nun parrare
dde cchiù die,
CA you cum you die ' àmu ' and then?
the rumanzelle who no’ and knows how to say?

I dicíadi, and illa ' ntantu
– CCU’ pizzarrisu –
me rispundìadi: – Te santu vija,
' nu santariellu d’ ' u Paradisu! –

No, speaks on the other, or my Tora,
Forgive me;
Let the priests in the sacristy,
teach me, insegnami tu a song;

That then I will sing to a girl
with guitar,
When I am done great: Dear me
more a young girl, the priest's cassock.

And not to mention, don't speak
more likely to die,
that if you die as we'll?
those songs will tell us?

I told her, and she Meanwhile
– with a smirk –
I replied: – You are Holy,
a little Saint of paradise! –

Tora tells tales, rumanze, Tales of facts, characters and places steeped in universal myths and legends: treasures, fairies… :

And me cuntavadi many passes
de li briganti:
– In cce Riventinu ensure the fairies…
– always diciadi – ' nd ' anu diamonds!-

And appoggianduse the cunocchia pue
lu sinu,
dicíadi: – Puru cc ' is ' na jocca
that ' universitàdi de uoru ' nu pulicinu

and always turns dintra faghi,
dduv is orvicatu
Lu cchiù putente riccu magicians
CCU’ lli trisuori; CC ' è ' nu ligatu

CA ' s'unu jocca, or lu pulicinu,
pòdi mu ' ncappa,
chillu trisuaru that is Riventinu,
remains for pue illu; but those who catch!


And he told me many adventures
dei briganti:
– On the Reventino there are fairies…
– always said – I have vivid!-

And then placing the distaff
over her womb,
said: – There's even a hen
that gold has a chick

and always roams among the beeches,
where is buried
the richest and most powerful of wizards
with treasures; There is a promise

If someone the hen, or the chick,
Unable to find,
the treasure that is on the Reventino,
becomes his; but whoever catches!


Stops here, with a dotted line, the sweet memory of Tora live, the beauty of his person and of maternal tenderness with which he spoke with Michele bread guy. If it was a movie and not a poem we would see framed the Michele Pane adult waking up suddenly and sadly from the dreamy torpor that had plunged the memories of days gone by. Good times for the presence of Tora, for his youth and, Of course, for his mom:

Or Tora, or Tora, requimmetèrna
MO’ who Yes dead!
pperchì nun tuorni quandu ' mberna cchiù?
did you forgot our door?

Pperchì nun come allu focularu
cumulative solìe?
Nue, each ' set de lu rusaru
who says Mom, pensamu a tie.

And Mom, Mamma mia bella, says
that ERAs ' na santa;
and always blesses you
si te ventùma, always t'avanta.

But you don't feel anymore, Tora,
nun ' u feel vantu;
nun tuorni quandu mina lla vuòra
and duormi'm peace ' ntr’ ' u campusantu!

Or Tora, or Tora, Requiem aeternam
now that you're dead!
Why don't you come back when it's winter?
you forgot our door?

Why don't you come home
as clearly raise?
Us, each mystery of the Rosary
He says Mom, We think about you.

And Mom, Mamma mia bella, says
you were a Saint;
and always blesses you
If you appoint, always has.

But you can't feel, Tora,
can't you feel the pride;
not come back when the bora blows
and sleep peacefully in the cemetery!

Tora is no more. It’ useless each invocation is made during the recitation of the Rosary mother Serafina and driven at all times where there was an opportunity. Tora now rests, Forever, in the cemetery.
In the penultimate verse, when mom speaks, at the end of the first verse there is a note: « Alas, No more! » which refers to the fact that at the time of publication (1911) her mother was no longer alive, being dead in 1907.
The note can help date the composition of the early poetry 1900; Maybe you could azzardarne the date after 1905-6 because Tora was not included in Viole e ortiche del 1906 which also contains an assortment of many poems where he could find a place so beautiful composition.

Afterwards Tora was included in collections Musa Silvestre del 1930 and of the 1967, without the dedication and the note and with only a few edited voice.

Home of Tora

Home of Tora (to the left) and Michele Pane (right)


Plaque with Tora poetry

Plaque with a poem posted on what Tora was his home, by the literary-Historical Park of Adami

COPYRIGHT © 2012 Giuseppe Musolino

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‘A fòcara

‘A fòcara

' In focara is one of the most famous poems of Michele Pane, first published in Viole e ortiche nel 1906.

But how many know exactly what is focara?
First of all, remember that the word is pronounced with the f Initial sucked like “c” Tuscany Home or the h English of Home. This particular pronunciation, subject of much discussion in the past about how we should translate in writing, has often led to serious error to place a h after f (fhocara) or even use the letter h instead of the f.

These erroneous ways of writing had already been treated by prof. Louis Accattatis in the preface to his famous Calabrian dialect vocabulary and illustrated in Appendix a Viole e ortiche (1906) When Michele Pane publishes a note on his poetry dell'accattatis. Accattatis's words are explicit: «The frenzy of some good writers calabresi came up to the point of writing huocu, hidile, hocara, ecc. to make the sound sucked the labio dental f has in Bakers and other countries in the Cosenza, No or less warn readers that h is replacing the initial letter f, waves is to read fuocu, fidile, focara.» (see G. MUSOLINO, Michele Pane. The Life, pp. 77-78).

'A fòcara

As for the etymology of focara, of course there is the Latin origin focus, from which focàra which is kind of Brazier. ours focara is used only in Puglia, exactly nel Salento, with the same meaning of great outdoor fire, and in Sicily. As a curiosity I remember focora, plural form of meaning “cooker”, is one of the first words that appear in the so-called written language vulgar Italian, as the usa Cielo d'alcamo in Contrast:

«Fresh rose aulentissima, that you been reverse,
women disirano, pulzell'e married!
Traimi de ste focora, If you in bolontate,
Why not give and night versions of Bento aio
penzanno to you, Madonna mia».

This same according to Contrast that contains the word focora, It is mentioned by Dante Alighieri in De Vulgari Eloquentia (The, XII) (shown in form "Tragemi d'Este focora if there boluntate to thee») as an example of bad judgment that had spoken to the slowness of the Sicilian rhythm.

But back to the focara. It's a big bonfire lights up the evening of Christmas Eve and then kept alive and revived the night of new year's Eve and Epiphany. A big open fire, then, as it is found in the folk traditions of many European countries at the shortest day of the year but also at other times.
The origin of the tradition is certainly pagana, like many other rites and traditions that religions have absorbed and reworked, But what is most interesting is the anthropological aspect of focara, that is, as has been reworked and lived in Calabrian community in General and in particular in Decorah.

The raw material consisted mainly of chestnut logs, almost always the part that remained in the soil after cutting a tree. It is a tangle of roots where it remains a lot of land and the trunk collar just mentioned. You can't talk about waste material because, in ancient times, also the roots of the trees was used as firewood, After digging the ground all around the cut point, that verged on the ground, and, Sometimes, even below. No one could afford the luxury of letting rot in the ground some 100 kg of wood at a time when the only source of fuel was the dry wood that fell from the trees after a storm, right to the inhabitants of the mountain villages on the lands of the feudal lords with the name legnare dead, that is, the right to collect the dead branches of fallen trees spontaneously. There was little else to burn: the branches (bundles of twigs), the few available, needed for the oven; the stubble of Lupine needed for annual repairs of haystack; the trunks of the trees, nor is it appropriate to talk about it: who would never cut a tree, depriving themselves of a food source? Besides – and this seems far-fetched – the landscape of the past was much more stripped down than today! In farmlands were not tolerated trees, by shadow, would reduce the production of the field, and then they didn't get planted, or better, There were a few, high, immense trees of pirajina or melo, so high that their shadow is distributed over a large area and then gave little trouble to harvest. There were uncultivated places where they could be found shrubs or other plant material. The trees, the few tolerated along the banks of rivers or in the Woods, they were pruned up to incredible heights during the summer to feed goats. So were the roots of trees felled by bad weather, those carried by the current of the rivers, those whose owners had not watched enough…

The strains, called Zucchi decollaturese dialect, they should therefore be collected away, in the woods or near rivers, and transported on a rudimentary Carro to the square of the village of voluntary membership. The work required to remove the stump with all roots from the Earth and to bring it to its destination would scare anyone. And it is precisely this aspect that, attempting an anthropological analysis of focara, You can find items to give a plausible interpretation on its origin and meaning. The starting point is that the roots and trunk were underground prevent processing and sowing the soil and also, particularly in the case of the chestnut tree, do not rot that after many years. The cooperation of many people in the arduous work of extraction and elimination of chestnut stumps is considered a positive work because once a year in the Woods, the land generally, were cleaned of these cumbersome and annoying presence. If we want to go even further back in time, until the middle ages and then again before, We must remember a primitive techniques of cultivation: the so-called cesina.

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