The tradition of the bonfires in late January

Even today in many alpine communities are lit the local bonfires.

The “fire festival” is an ancient rite of Celtic origin.

The flame was solar symbol of regeneration and purification of nature, a main ingredient for magic rituals.

The bonfire as winter ritual symbolizes the light that illuminates the cold nights in late January and marks the turnning point between the cold season and the imminent arrival of the spring season.

The tradition of the bonfires of 31st January still lives in different villages on Lake Como, and nearby.

The best known is the “Giubiana” in Erba and Cantù, then there are the “Giunée” in Plesio and other “Ginée” in many villages.

During the three blackbirds days, was the custom in our villages, that the boys were playing pranks to the inhabitants.

The purpose was to get out of the house the victim, with an apology.
The victim was then teased shouting “L’è foo al Generon !!!” and the sound of cowbells (ciocc), playing on the double meaning “ended in January” and “is outside the naive” …..

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