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AN EVERGREEN TRADITION

The "maitunata" of Massa

by Pacifico Cofrancesco

As punctual as usual, the so-called "maitunata" (a word of uncertain origin) opened this year’s New Year's Day of Massa, with the organizational support of the local Pro Loco association.



Photos and video by Pacifico Cofrancesco

 
Even though its format is slightly changed from the ancient ones, in substance the maitunata remains the same. With the arrival of the New Year, we need to wish each other health and prosperity, and renew our hopes in a better future.

A te biondina Wine Band
The "A Te Biondina Wine Band" of Massa
singing the "Maitunata"


In Massa, as well as in other places near the region of Molise, since time immemorial this is done with music and singing. Some time ago people visited each home the night before New Year's Day, and following a well-defined scheme, they unfailingly praised, often with some irony, the head of the family and his wife "bella e bbona" ("nice and good"), his beautiful children, and nice parents. They shouted good wishes, and carried a type of "good luck tree", decorated with colored ribbons and paper money, singing and declaring with the stentorian tone of a town crier of yore, wishes for a new year of pace e allegrezza ("peace and joy"), “ran senza munnezza ("wheat without weeds"), denar assai da spenn ("a lot of money to spend"), vin bbon ("good wine"), temp megl ("better weather"), and salute ("health").

Wishes...
Alessandro Colasanto, President of the "Pro Loco" of Massa
offering wine to the "Wine Band"...
   





Hugs...
Wishes and hugs


People in the square of Massa
The square of Massa
during the "maitunata"
Ancient values and hopes, typical of a rural culture that is fading, even in people's memory, but the "maitunata" of Massa contributes to keeping traditions alive. Michele Di Leone is the main force maintaining this tradition in Massa. He has gathered the texts, orally transmitted from generation to generation, and today is in charge of shouting wishes to all people coming within his "shout range", emphasizing each sentence with the sound of the putipu. The putipu (called also bufu in other places) is a classical folk instrument, with a sound somewhat between a trombone and a double bass. The sound is made by rubbing a wet rag on a reed connected to a kind of drum (usually made with a barrel). The “A Te Biondina Wine Band” of Massa provides his accompaniment. The entire group was there: Ciccio Cofrancesco, guitar; Carlo Lavorgna, accordion; Valerio Ciarlo, tenor; and Tatonno Colella, Rodolfo Simone, Gaetano Cofrancesco, Peppino Lavorgna and Alfredo Di Leone, tambourines and singers.

Ciccio Cofrancesco
Ciccio Cofrancesco

Valerio Ciarlo
 
Carlo Lavorgna
Valerio Ciarlo

 
Carlo Lavorgna

Beppe Lavorgna
 
Tatonno Colella
Beppe Lavorgna

 
Tatonno Colella

Gaetano Cofrancesco
 
Rodolfo Simone
Gaetano Cofrancesco
 
Rodolfo Simone
   
Michele Di Leone
Michele Di Leone
playing the "putipu"

This year, the "maitunata" of Massa drew the attention of a musicologist, Sabrina Cuneo, who came to Massa from Rome with the photographer Carmine Puzo, and they took pictures and movies of the special event. Of course she was also the object of the words of good wishes of the "maitunata" of Massa, together with "her beautiful husband" and "her beautiful family". As it usually happens in such occasions, the festival atmosphere gradually grows, and this year, following the call of the music, the little square of Massa became crowded with people for a final toast, eating some panettone, and exchanging kisses and hugs to wish each other Happy New Year!

Michele Di Leone
   
Sabrina Cuneo
The musicologist
Sabrina
Cuneo

 
     The video
 
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