The Historical Carnival in Offida: everybody’s crazy about ‘Lu Bov Fint’!

Every Italian city in February is crowded by masks, confetti, lights and colors for a special festival: the Carnival. A celebration of ancient origins that today has become a folkloristic event, combinining tradition and fun into unique shows.

The Carnival in Fano

The Carnival in Fano

In Italy there are many historical Carnivals: each of them is characterized by specific masks and allegorical celebrations linked to their territory and traditions. Also in Le Marche there are many towns that celebrate the Carnival in a unique way keeping alive a tradition passed down through the centuries. Among them, the Carnival of Fano, the oldest in Italy (find out more about it in our old post here)

Today I would like to talk about another celebration taking place in the ancient village of Offida, amongst our most beautiful hamlet in our country, thanks to its beautiful old town protected by castle walls built in the fifteenth century.

Panoramic view of the town of Offida

Panoramic view of the town of Offida

Here the Carnival is celebrated in a very unique way that can’t be found in other cities. In fact, the inhabitants of Offida have always considered their traditions so special to keep them alive over the years until today. Amongst them, also the bobbin lace making: a precious lace skilfully made through the mix of cotton yarns whose design is pinned by pins on a pillow (the so called ‘tombolo’). When visiting Offida you’ll notice the beauty of these elegant lace on the windows of several houses in town.

Bobbin lace making

Bobbin lace making

But let’s go back to the big celebration of the Carnival here, which starts on January 17, the day of St. Anthony until February 9.12510438_931913646894716_1264864953801326119_n

In Offida you won’t just see the usual parade and masks, but a completely different and charming festivity! The most ‘important’ day is the Good Friday, dedicated to the so called “Lu Bov Fint” (aka: the fake ox).

Lu Bov Fint: a fake ox with only real hornes

Lu Bov Fint: a fake ox with only real horns

This  sort of ‘ox-puppet’ is guided through the narrow streets of Offida by men dressed in the so called “lu guazzarò”, a white jacket with red stripes dating back to the tradition. The ox used to be true until  the early part of the nineteenth century. Today it is made of an iron and wood framework covered with a cloth, while the only real thing it has maintained are its horns!

A couple of pics...

A couple of pics…

...from the celebration of the "Lu Bov Fint"...a sort of corrida

…from the celebration of the “Lu Bov Fint”…a sort of corrida

Hundreds of people will chase the ox to the main square of the old town, before its symbolic sacrifice at sunset.

The main square is colored in red and white

The main square is colored in red and white

The final day of the Carnival occurs on the Shrove Tuesday, the day when another unusual and spectacular ceremony takes palce: the “Vlurd”.

The so called: "Vlurd"

The so called: “Vlurd”

Masked men and women in a procession through the streets of the village will carry large bundles of burning reeds and, between screams and wild dances, they flood once again the main square and create together one big and spectacular bonfire that marks the beginning of the Lent. 419046_228596663899063_515659617_nThis year “Lu bov fint” will take place on Friday, February 5, while the procession of the “Vlurd” will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 9.

I "Veglionissimi": una travolgente festa in maschera con tanta musica e divertimento!

The “Veglionissimi”: a big masquerade party, with music and lots of fun!

During the Offida Carnival you can also enjoy the so called “Veglionissimi” in the splendid setting of the ‘Serpente Aureo’ Theatre on Saturday, Sunday and Monday: a big masquerade party, with music and lots of fun!picgrandi2

If you find yourself in Offida over the days the Carnival, you will get involved by these and many other traditional events. An authentic folk festival where, laying aside any rule or social convention, having fun is a must, and you’ll become the actors of representations whose symbolic value is handed down over the centuries until today!

A Offida le tradizioni vengono tramandate di generazione in generazione...ecco dei piccoli "guzzaro'"!

In Offida traditions are handed down from generation to generation…here’s some little “guzzaro'”!

To learn more about the Carnival of Offida, please visit the official website of the Carnival here (English version available) and the Offida Official Tourism Site here

Special thanks to the ProLoco (Tourism office) of Offida for their kind collaboration!

15 thoughts on “The Historical Carnival in Offida: everybody’s crazy about ‘Lu Bov Fint’!

  1. Pingback: The Historical Carnival in Offida: everybody’s crazy about ‘Lu Bov Fint’!Learn about beautiful and meaningful traditions carried out by the citizens of this area of Italy. | The Sick and the Dating

  2. Beautiful photo of Offida nestled in the rolling hills. I love learning about regional carnivals and festivals, especially those with old roots, and seeing how they blend the mystical and religious. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  3. Hi
    I have searched everywhere on line to find the ‘actual’ dates and timings of the Carnivalle and the ‘Bov’ Can you help? We do not want to go on the wrong day/time!

    • Hi Cheryl!
      This year the event of “Lu bov fint” will take place on this Friday, February 5 starting at 9am for the kids, 10am for boys&girls and finally 2.15pm for the grown-ups.
      Then, the procession of the “Vlurd” will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 9 at 7pm.
      Taking place on the same day there will also be a party with Carnival masks in the “Piazza del Popolo” (the main Square in town) at 3pm.

      I hope this will help!:-)
      Please let me know if you need further details.

    • Thanks Carol! I hope you will find some more inspiration from Le Marche…maybe for your future novel!
      Please keep me posted and keep following my blog. Your support is really precious!:-)

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