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He returned to the village in 1995. It was his final journey. Turi arrived Overland Park in the morning, in a coffin, with his wife and son, and his dearest friends. True to his principles to the very end, he left word that he didn’t want a church funeral. He had his own religiosity, Overland Park and it didn’t include phony homilies by greedy priests. The turn-out in the piazza was smaller than when he was performing his Overland Park, or when political rallies and festivities took place. It was morning, the weather wasn’t the best, and few people knew of Overland Park death. I felt that he shouldn’t leave us without being remembered to the few young people who accompanied him. I gathered my strength: I became Turi’s general. I climbed onto the balcony from which he’d declaimed and performed. I managed to say that he was the masked image of a world that had hoped for the best.

Where is Overland Park? – Overland Park Map – Map of Overland Park Photo Gallery

Turi’s funeral was the last funeral of Emperor Carnival. Carnival has become a festival for children who gather in the village piazza to throw confetti, streamers and lather each other with modern multicoloured foam sprays. For many days leading up to the carnival, the search for costumes of Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk, Barbie, Princess Sissi, and the Winx is all consuming. Having no public stage, the children visit their grandparents, their relatives, friends and small groups, knocking on doors hoping to collect sweets and candy, but especially to be seen, to show off their beautiful costumes. It’s their moment of greatest visibility, second only to the competition for the most beautiful costume, which always turns out to be the most precious and expensive.

For some years now young women have been writing and performing their own farces, in ancient words and gestures, poking ironic fun at the men of the village and on the drawbacks of village life. These are educated women with diplomas and university degrees, and they juxtapose the language of tradition against the culture of television, thus inventing a new folklore and a new culture, to which we should pay closer scholarly attention. They are the descendants of the farsari and speak and perform as if they had absorbed stories, gestures and mimicry. Women who have become the new protagonists are rescuing the tradition that kept them at bay and in the background.

Turi returns often at night, when time follows no order, and I hear my children, Stefano and Caterina, and my sister’s children, Nicola and Angela, clattering about fumbling for confetti and costumes to disguise themselves, laughing at the idea of making jokes and surprises. As my farsari were fond of saying: We must always take care of the oil lamp of life and hope.

Quandu cala lu Calici Santu Lu Patre Lu Figghiu e lu Spiritu Santu When the Madonna went to the fair To buy a ball of linen Saint Joseph took his lantern To see the swaddling of the child Little child, oh little child So beautiful and so sweet On the night you were born Oh the cold that you did bear As Saint Anne and Saint Mary Sang a litany for the living and the dead For the good and just pilgrims For the chair made of diamonds On which sat all the saints While the little saints at their feet Played a game of hazelnuts And the hazelnuts were broken Flowers and roses they became Let’s pick the flowers and the roses Let’s bring them to our Lord To mount Calvary where he stands With a great cross on his shoulders That heavy cross, daughter of Mary Oh Mother who are on our side Show us a little consolation When the Holy chalice comes down Father Son and Holy Ghost.

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