Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Quarantana, Widow Of Carnevale

Holy Week in Italy's far south

Pulpit & Pen Salafi Baptist alert! James C. spent Holy Week in Bari, a city in far southern Italy. He took a photo of the above scene on the street of the town where he was. He writes:

I asked a local what it was. And he called her a ‘Quarantana’. Apparently she’s Carnevale’s widow…they have a ‘funeral’ for Carnevale (represented as a fat man) on Ash Wednesday and the black-clad Widow (symbol of Lenten deprivation) gets hung up, carrying a spindle of thread (to represent the brevity of life), a fish (as traditionally no eating meat during Lent) and a piece of fruit (representing the coming spring) with feathers stuck in it (6 black ones for each week of Lent and one white one for Easter; one black feather gets plucked out each week).

I. Love. This. I imagine it would provoke a gran mal seizure among the Pulpit & Pen fellers (the ones who didn’t spontaneously combust, I mean). Close up: