Tag Archives: Ladin

Festa!

14 Jul
14 July 2016. Small town festivals were a part of the fabric of our youth: parades, bands, queens, community dinners, and carnival rides. Quite a different animal in Italy.
We arrived in Ortisei in time for the annual sagra, or local festival, complete with beer hall, folk-costume parade, and band concert. In Italy, many sagre (plural of sagra) are agricultural-based celebrating artichokes, chestnuts, truffles, and so on. Not so in Ortisei: They celebrate their Ladin culture.
Three of the more elaborate costumes.

Three of the more elaborate costumes.

The Ladin people are the historical inhabitants of this ethnically and politically confused region. Before WWI, this was Austria. They are still a part of the Tyrol, with which they share culture, history, traditions, environment, and architecture; However, they are Italian residents of the autonomous region of the Trentino-Alto Adige and have their own language. Luckily everyone speaks German and Italian, and most speak English as well as Ladin, so communication is interesting. It is not uncommon to hear three languages among four people in a single conversation. 
The band, smartly attired in Tyrolean costumes. Our hosts' daughter is one of the flautists.

The band, smartly attired in Tyrolean costumes. Our hosts’ daughter is one of the flutists.

As a community gathering, the sagra in Ortisei was remarkably simple and it seemed the entire town participated. We saw the beer hall go up in the piazza Friday night, forcing the buses and taxis to do their pick-up and drop-off on the highway 100 meters away. At noon on Saturday, several loud reports from a cannon and the vigorous ringing of church bells announced the start of the festival and drove LibbyJean into hiding.
The festival hall/beer tent on Saturday night. Teeming with people of all ages.

The festival hall/beer tent on Saturday night. Teeming with people of all ages.

Saturday night on our way to dinner we passed the beer hall — now encompassing the large bus-and-taxi piazza — where at least 2000 people were crammed tightly into picnic tables with little room for the beer servers to maneuver. We happily passed by to enjoy dinner at a relatively empty restaurant. The BIG day was to be Sunday.
Note the beer hall is set up in the bus piazza.

Note the beer hall is set up in the bus piazza.

Sunday morning at 9:45 the crowd began to gather outside the village church, awaiting the folk-costume parade, led by the town band. Many of the parade watchers also donned Tyrolean dress: boys large and small in lederhosen with women and girls in dirndl skirts. The rest of us were festively attired in hiking shorts and tee-shirts.
The short parade of extremely elaborate costumes depicted traditional dress associated with a Ladin wedding. From helpful neighbors to the “inviter,” the grandparents, and the woman with the keys to the wine cellar, everyone had a role and a costume with special meaning. The band was an assemblage of young and old musicians who after leading the parade also performed a two-hour concert during Sunday lunch. 
I nonni, the grandparents, of the bride and groomi n distinctive Ladin attire.

I nonni, the grandparents, of the bride and groom in distinctive Ladin attire.

Of course, after the parade passed everyone followed it down the street to the piazza where it was apparently not too early for wine, beer, or a spritz con Aperol. We tucked into elevensies and enjoyed the band along with our own spritzes.
Post parade parade of the uncostumed surges down ther main drag.

Post parade parade of the uncostumed surges down the main drag.

From our hillside aerie we could hear music on-and-off all afternoon and into the evening, as well as the continued firing of the cannon and overuse of the church bells. By Monday morning it was all swept away to make room for the weekly market. 

 

Sweet children in elaborate cosumes. These take an hour to put on.

Sweet children in elaborate cosumes. These take an hour to put on.

Even the tiniest participant has to have the right attire.

Even the tiniest participant has to have the right attire.

Tyrolean dress for all ages.

Tyrolean dress for all ages.

Horse drawn carriage for the wedding couple.

Horse drawn carriage for the wedding couple.

Smaller crowd Sunday after the parade. Note the street lamps and taxi station signs.

Smaller crowd Sunday after the parade. Note the street lamps and taxi station signs.

Elevensies! A spritz con Aperol with bocconcini di pollo and insalata di patate (chicken nuggets and potatoe salad). We hiked after....

Elevensies! A spritz con Aperol with bocconcini di pollo and insalata di patate (chicken nuggets and potato salad). We hiked after….

Land of many languages

11 Jul
The Val Gardena is home to the Ladin people, an ethnic group of the South Tyrol with their own language, culture, and traditions. Repressed under Fascism, the language and culture is now embraced and celebrated in this small region. The language is spoken by an estimated 84% of the people in our favorite town of Ortisei and is spoken in the home as a means of  keeping the language alive. But as one cannot communicate outside the small Ladin region without other languages, almost everyone speaks German and Italian (education is all in Italian), and many people also speak English fluently, which is helpful with the numbers of non-German and non-Italian tourists.
Embracing this linguistic variety can cause confusion among visitors. We have been here five times now, and the other day got into an argument about the name of the main piazza in Ortisei. I said it’s Piazza San’Antonio and Ric said, “No, it is Piazza San Antone.” How could we not know that? Here’s why:
Sign in the piazza: Italian, German and Ladin names for the same piazza in Ortisei.
Sign in the piazza: Italian, German and Ladin names for the same piazza in Ortisei.
Even the town itself has three distinct names. In Ladin, it means “place of nettles.” Luckily we have not encountered any of the stinging variety.
Does trail #9 lead to 3 places? No. All are names for the same cute town.
Does trail #9 lead to 3 places? No. All are names for the same cute town.
Some place names are vastly different. The other day we were taking a trail we had not intended to hike. We were not really lost, just a bit off course. At a junction where we had to make a decision, we saw a couple descending so I waited to see if they could clarify our choice. First try, in Italian I asked, “Parla Italiano o Inglese.” Blank stare, then the man says, Deutsch.”  “Do you speak English?” I ask. “A little,” he responded. When I asked where they had come from, he answered with “Langkofelhütte.” Luckily I knew that was the German for Rifugio Vicenza and not our destination, that we should take the other path. How can the same place have such wildly different names?
A final note, many signs at restaurants, etc., are in Italian, German and English to help the majority of travelers. But translations being what they are, sometimes they are amusing. At this rifugio (one of the nicest we have seen) the hills were steep, but what we really needed was some coffee.
IMG_4947
%d bloggers like this: