Wood and Broom Fires


Festivals with fires are still common in Southern Italy, and many have a long tradition. This continuity is related to their possibility of adaptation. The differences between broom and wood fires in the mountain town Calvello, points to an elder system of protection, which largely faded away with the decline of the agrarian society, after the Second World War. However, change, and even the spread of fire rituals already started from the beginning of the 19th century. Long term developments show that social changes influence the meaning of these fire rituals. It is not the ritual itself that changes as a direct response to changing circumstances, but the overall rituals in which they are embedded, and which are related to symbols like saints.

How to Cite

Tak, H., (1992) “Wood and Broom Fires”, Ethnologia Europaea 22(1), p.33-50. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1194

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.



Herman Tak (University College Roosevelt)



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