In the middle of January, many neighbourhoods of Naples still celebrate the ritual of the cippo di Sant’Antonio. After New Year’s Day the young boys search the whole city for firewood, also very far from their neighbourhoods. Every gang gathers its woods in a secret place – “il segreto” – to protect them from the raids of the other gangs; they wait for the day of the bonfire, among the frenzy of the search for wood, and the clashes among the gangs, sometimes real, sometimes imaginary, to defend the treasure from the attacks of the “enemies”. Everything happens in the streets, almost twenyfour hours a day: at morning they often skip school, by night they guard the hiding place. To accomplish their aim, the gangs pass over all the obstacles, either if it is their neighbours complaining for the yellings, or the police threatening them to confiscate the firewood. At a closer look, though, an internal set of rules can be found: codes and habits that are preserved from one generation to another. They are the same children that in school appear empty, lazy, apathetic, or the opposite, uncontrollable and agitated. During the days of the “cippo” you see them passionate, interested and disciplined. In the adventurous game they built with their own hands, they appear transformed, until the final catharsis arrives: when the fire is lit, they dance around it, singing, and throwing in the flames the firecrackers and their own clothes.
- IL SEGRETO (2013), a film by cyop&kaf about the ritual of the “cippo” in Naples’ Quartieri Spagnoli neighbourhood; special mention of the Jury at the Torino Film Festival, selected by Paris international festival Cinema du Réel [trailer][webpage][review in Quinlan]
- “La sfida del cippo e la città alla finestra“, by Luca Rossomando, Repubblica Napoli 1/15/2013 [here also translated into spanish], and “Il segreto di Sant’Antonio“, Napoli Monitor n. 53, march 2013.
- cyop&kaf generally paints, even if at times it stumbles on writing, urbanism, photography. When it took a videocamera for the first time, it had already spent three years before in a dialogue with Naples’ Quartieri Spagnoli. The first fruit of that long work was a book, QS, then a movie, Il segreto: two pieces-synthesis, that together try to account the complexity of a neighbourhood corroded by prejudice. To look behind and inside the appearance, often brutal, of things. See also the video Quore Spinato [trailer] and the reportage Fuoco e fiamme [link]
- Napoli Monitor, review of reportages, drawings, researches and chroniques, explaining Naples and other cities since 2007 [webpage]
More on popular celebrations: in may, in the village of french midi les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (Camargue), an extraordinary strange celebration takes place, and gypsies have an important part in it. Together with the procession for the two “canonical” saints, Saint Salomé and Saint Jacobé, gypsies from all France and other parts of Europe gather for the procession of Santa Sara, Sara Kali, or Sara the black: who officially is only the servant to the other two saints, but that the gypsies promoted as their patron saint, and that they carry into the sea. This celebration was invented in the end of the XIX century to promote turism and save a depressed region from the effects of massive migration; today it is a strange festival “in disguise”, during which both gypsies, turists and camarguaises fully entered some kind of role play, with neither shame nor complexes. For three days, gypsies with high-class caravans draw their alliances and organize marriages, and settle just opposite to the folkloric carriages that the locals organize for turists. Everybody adopts for three days the identity that the others project on them, as they are all playing, just for partying, for singing and dancing regardless of their traditions and their original musical styles. Flamenco mixes with other musics, as the gypsies with non-gypsies, just like the fresh waters of river Rhone meet the salt water of the sea, and aigues mortes of Camargue melt into the live waters of the Mediterranean.
- Marc Bordigoni (2002-3), “Le ‘pèlerinage des gitans’, entre foi, tradition et tourisme” Ethnologie française, 2002/3, vol.32, pp. 489-501.
- Among the most assiduous invitees of Santa Sara’s celebration there is the romanés band Urs Karpats, here live in 2010, known also as Ursarii, or bear tamers
- Great video about the celebration and Santa Sara, with music by Urs Karpaz: TSIGHINDIA SARA KALI :: see also Kali Sara by Latcho Drom
- Sara Kali, i.e. Sarah the Black, is not recognized as saint by any official church; the fact that her statue wears clothes is a sign of popular religion – it is the devotion of the gypsies with canonizes her as holy. Actually her statue wears many dresses one upon the other, as to symbolize the extreme devotion of her devotees. Many connect her faith with indian goddess Kali, that is also dumped underwater in an annual celebration under the form of Durga.
Rumba gitana in Santes Maries de la Mer, recorded by ethnomusicologist Roberto Leydi in 1968…
- Elisabeth LORENZI (2010) “Centro social en movimiento. Los talleres de auto-reparación de bicicletas en espacios autogestionados” in Mario Domínguez, Miguel Ángel Martínez, Elísabeth Lorenzi, Okupaciones en Movimiento. derivas, estrategias y políticas. Madrid: Tierradenadie [ENLACE]
- Web of Bicios@s collective in Barcelona, and of bicitaller of "edificio 15O"
- web of the Critical Mass in Madrid: Bicicrítica
- The final presentation of "Shift Happens" in a bookshop in San Francisco will be on september 26th, the day of the anniversary, and will be part of a series of activities that will attract to the city cyclists from different places.