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EU Culture website of winter rituals

Desert Dancer 02 Jan 12 - 02:33 PM
Wheatman 03 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM
Wheatman 04 Jan 12 - 10:55 AM
open mike 04 Jan 12 - 08:49 PM
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Subject: EU Culture website of winter rituals
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 02:33 PM

This site was linked in another thread and I thought it deserved its own. Among other resources, it features quite a number of short videos from all around Europe and one from England (Hinkley Plough Bullockers, in Sharnford). Their description:

Carnival King of Europe is a research project funded by the Culture Department of the European Union.
It aims at bringing into light the important similarities that can be observed among specific aspects of Carnivals and winter fertility rituals across different areas of Europe.

This is the project's official website and it aims at bringing together:
• a new perspective on Carnival as a discrete European cultural phenomenon,
• resources on Carnival studies, insofar as books, films, links, events are concerned,
• facts & events about the project's progress.

In short, this is our case. A number of very specific ethnographic instances from the Balkans to Iberia, passing through Central Europe, the Alps and the whole of the Italian peninsula, put in evidence some striking similarities in the winter masquerades which are meant to foster the onset of the new agrarian year.

Among these, there are the sudden appearance of stocky masked mummers girdled by cowbells, often followed by slender white dancers wearing tall conical caps, the representation of a mock nuptial cortege in conjunction with the ritual ploughing of the village square, the invasion of a crowd of assorted burlesque characters, and finally, the trial and sentencing to death of a pivotal figure, often identified with "Carnival" itself...

At present, no single, synthetic explanation is given by ethnologists and/or culture historians as to the widespread diffusion of such occurrences all over the continent. Yet, all available evidence seems to point at the fact this particular set of rituals can be situated very close to the core of European culture, at least as far as its original agrarian setting is concerned.

In this restricted, paradoxical sense, "Carnival" can be taken to be one of the longest standing "kings of Europe", one in which European cultural identity can mirror and recognize itself.

(Makes me wish Malcolm Douglas was here to comment...)

The research is ongoing. They've had a number of conferences and produced a DVD and a traveling exhibit, and will have a couple more conferences this year. Lots to mine in the site, it looks like.

~ Becky in Tucson

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Subject: RE: EU Culture website of winter rituals
From: Wheatman
Date: 03 Jan 12 - 02:18 PM

Good on ya Becky here is another link to bears this time only stills I'm afraid but all good stuff. Wish I had learnt German and I wish i could get the blue clicky thing to work.
more bears
Gan canny Brian

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Subject: RE: EU Culture website of winter rituals
From: Wheatman
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 10:55 AM


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Subject: RE: EU Culture website of winter rituals
From: open mike
Date: 04 Jan 12 - 08:49 PM

Here is a link to my radio show from a year ago featuring Winter Traditions from England, Ireland and Scotland.

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Mudcat time: 18 October 10:49 PM EDT

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