Its festivals and traditions
Normally in the summer dinner can take place until midnight, so the Salento does not go to bed early: besides all year long, particularly during the summer, there are so many patronal feasts, concerts and traditional representations, expression of the bursting vitality of this land. In Salento, especially in the summer, the festivals are so frequent; each village has its own patron saint, which is celebrated with great participation, both by the faithful and by the curious. That's why one of the most difficult things to do in Salento, is giving the right suggestion in choosing the event or festival to be seen. In Salento, especially in the summer, the festivals are so frequent; each village has its own patron saint, which is celebrated with great participation, both by the faithful and by the curious. Although each of them has specific characteristics, these sacred events have some common features. The procession, for example, when the patron saint is carried on the shoulders in slow procession through the streets of the town, during which the prayers are interspersed with the chants of the faithful and with the music played by local musical bands. Leuca, Santa Cesarea Terme, Otranto offer the opportunity to attend suggestive processions on the sea, where the statue of the patron is placed on a boat decorated with flowers, garlands and streamers, and is followed by a long trail of boats. In occasion of the festivities streets and squares are dressed up with wonderful lights decorations. They make an extraordinary decoration of lights, consisting of large wooden structures covered with thousands of colored lights, that in recent years, have made ever more extraordinary effects and lights. Decorations made by illuminations masters, can reach considerable dimensions, and reproduce large tunnels, towers, castles and cathedrals. The festivals are then concluded by fireworks, that normally take place at night. Among the patronal feasts, the white nights, and historical re-enactments, we do point out at least the famous “Notte della Taranta” held in Melpignano.
Pizzica is a popular Italian folk dance, originally from the Salento peninsula and later spreading throughout all the Puglia and Calabria regions and eastern Basilicata. It is part of the larger family of tarantella dances. The traditional pizzica is a couple dance. This couple need not necessarily involve two individuals of opposite sexes, and often two women can be seen dancing together. An exception with a pizzica between two men can still be found in the town of Ostuni, where one of the two men who dance jokingly pretends to be a woman. Another exception is where two men pretend to be engaged in a duel. The most important book about Pizzica and the ritual of Tarantismo is The Land of Remorse, write by the italian philosopher, anthropologist and historian of religions Ernesto De Martino. There are several traditional pizzica groups, the oldest being Officina Zoé, Uccio Aloisi gruppu, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, I Tamburellisti di Torrepaduli. Since 1998 there has been a summer Notte della Taranta (taranta night), consisting of a whole night where many famous musicians alternate their performances with pizzica orchestras. Some of them including Franco Battiato, Gianna Nannini, Lucio Dalla, and Carmen Consoli