Făşanc – The Carnival in the Mountainside Banat: Historical-Religious and Ethnographical Aspects

Spitilli, Gianfranco (Articol)

“European folk cultures have had a ‘subordinate’ existence, particularly long and remarkably substantial. Official policies surrounding them varied widely. What I do aim at is to retrieve units for understanding the contribution of popular cultures to the European heritage of identities. Among the identity resources of present-day Europe, the popular cultures of Medieval and Modern Europe, partly prolonged, regionally and locally, into present, hold much consistency, primarily through deep inter-textual stratification, as well as through privileging structures of continuity. It would nonetheless be methodologically wrong to address popular culture in isolation, as if it were a buried treasure (reliquarium), a living-fossil cave survival, severed from and in contrast with official culture, that is, the culture of elites. On the contrary, it is more likely that popular culture functioned organically, through genuine integrative hermeneutic networks, trying to incorporate the inputs of institutional culture, translating them, with a sui generis hermeneutics, into vernacular language, and integrating them in regional semiotic. Because popular culture always worked by adaptation and inclusion, not by exclusion, while still preserving some sort of autonomy regarding the official social-cultural establishment. In order to emphasize the popular culture, from the perspective of its subsequent ceremoniality, I chose a ceremonial complex, charged by magical-religious ideologies nowadays more or less concealed, but rooted in archaic historical-religious circumstances, and beholding enough efficient adaptive mechanisms to modernity, to be visible throughout contemporary Europe: the Carnivals from Banat, with their complex diachronic inter-textual stratigraphies and mechanisms of adaptation to the present reality (politics, social-economical reality, mass-media etc.). My analyses are based on anthropological fieldwork done in this region (21 villages) since 2007.”

Cuvinte cheie: carnival, carnivalization, Făşanc / fashing, mask, masquerade, popular religiosity, and Shrovetide (Lăsata secului)

Revista de etnografie și folclor / Journal of Ethnography and Folklore

2012, nr. 1-2