In Bolano we celebrate (life) the night of the well of the dead

In Bolano, an ancient tradition tells that in the night of the dead the spirits return to the village, welcomed with food and returned to the cemetery

If in the Anglo-Saxon world kids go door to door to the sound of “Treat or Trick” on the Halloween night, the ancient village of Bolano in our Val di Vara is not far behind, with its millennial tradition of the Mna, the spirits who return in the night of the dead among their homes to find peace not yet obtained in the afterlife. Suddenly appear in the night in a long line, dressed in white, illuminated by large candles saying

What to do in Val di Vara and nearby

S’a nè daré ‘r ben d’i morti, i’ pregren per i vostri morti, chi ‘n ghen’ à gi’en tuti porchi.

Ibambini di Bolano interpretano le anime dei morti che vagano per BOlano alla ricerca dei ben d’i morti

That is “If you give us the good of the dead, we will pray for your dead, and those who do not are all pigs”. So the Mnà in procession from the church of Santa Maria Assunta they open the windows of the houses, from which they rain all the offers, just the “Ben ‘of the dead”, prepared in their wait, to cancel the shame of being assimilated to pigs in front of everyone. The souls then head towards the main square of the village, where a large table awaits them with warm bread, chestnuts and wine and a large lantern that illuminates the night of the dead.

Dinner with the dead, a ritual that celebrates life

The convivio with the dead souls explains perhaps the term Mna, really peculiar: one can perhaps think of a origin of the term linked to the Maenads, the Greek term to define the bacchantes, the women who idolized Dionysus, god of life force: the joy of living, of being together, of finding oneself in the name of good food and bon-drink, so dear to the life of the village of Bolano as of many other villages, wins over death.

During dinner, the most characteristic characters of the history of the village are evoked, but also of the present with an animated reconstruction in costume. Often the most prominent personalities of the village ask about the souls of these characters.
Later, the souls are taken back to their place, the cemetery.

Cover photo: Convivia Bolano

Teresa Turano


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