Parish of Santa Maria Maggiore
(St. Mary Major)

via Dante 23/25 - 85010 Pignola (PZ)
Archdiocese of Potenza-Muro Lucano-Marsiconuovo

Presbitery members
Don Antonio Laurita - Parish Priest
Mons. Rocco Piro - Pastor emeritus
Don Antonio Meliante - Parish vicar
Don Giuseppe Calace - permanent deacon

Parish office - via Dante 23
open workdays 9 to 11 a.m.
phone:  0039 0971 430008

IBAN: IT 28 J 07601 04200 00013119854
Postal Current Account : 000013119854


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Presbitery members

Don Antonio LAURITA - 
(Parish Priest)

Mons. Rocco PIRO - (Pastor emeritus)
Don Antonio MELIANTE - (Parish Vicar)

Don Giuseppe CALACE - (Permanent Deacon)


We apologize in advance for the translation errors that you'll surely find in the texts: we do our best efforts, but maybe it's not enough !



The Carnival in Pignola and its masks


The Catholic Action wants to give a contribution to the debate on the Pignola’s Carnival and its traditional masks.

Everybody knows that the carnival represents a moment of aggregation and is also time for carefree madness, joy and transgression. It’s an unique event full of irony and satire, in which all participate: men, women, children, old people.

The community of Pignola, digging into his past, has brought to the light some peculiar aspects; but we have still to continue working on this aspect.

So, first of all let’s say that in Pignola the carnival does not begin on January the 17th (S. Anthony Abbot’s feast) but the day before, when they light a bonfire,  called “fanoja”, sometime higher than four meters.

It could come from a legend telling how S. Anthony went back from hell carrying his stick burning, to give the fire to men; or it may be just a way to represent, with sparks and flames, the incoming time of fun.

While the bonfire burns, you can hear music from accordion and drums, and see people eating homemade pasta and pork. The situation is monitored by the “mantellari”, masks wearing big hats and old capes, that should avoid somebody steals the fire and are also announcing that “U re” (the carnival’s king) is coming with his court. 

A “mantellaro”  is a mysterious and solitary character. Maybe a disillusioned by life, or shy, or a lover; as well, could be young or old, man or woman: nobody knows. They just represent the defender of traditions.

After the traditional race of mules, horses and donkeys we have the “zite”, a ramshackle married couple on their buggy. 

But what is quite unique is the tradition of the “parate”. The characters are a husband and wife, godfather and godmother (better: accomplice and gossip) and a doctor. They, inspired by real and recent events, improvise funny comedy acts at somebody’s house;  in any case, at the end the wife faints and the doctor states she can be saved only with a good portion of local salami. So, the family hosting the “actors” will offer salami and wine to all.

Another traditional, very old mask is “U Peligne” (the hairy); on it, there are very few information.  Somebody says he is a person dressed in longhaired animal skins, with a stick and having a billy goat on a lead; someone else states he is a disheveled dancer with reversed clothing, able to play and dance at the same time with a big, life-sized doll.

Last, let’s spend a few word on the “official” carnival mask of Pignola: “Ze Gerarde Fotte” (uncle Jerry).

He loves good wine and food, funny jokes (sometimes dirty); ready to quarrel, he has a red plaid shirt, black waistcoat, brown corduroy trousers, black hat, white wool socks, mountain boots in bad conditions, and round thick glasses.

He has always with him a chamber pot: when hungry, he uses it as a dish to eat spaghetti or pork chop.


We could say he represents the rural humility and also the tenacity of our people, ready to react to any offense addressed to him or to people being hosted here, where each guest is sacred.                                         

                                                                                                                                              The A.C. president

                                                                                                                                         Fiorentino Trapanese


Dear brothers and sisters,

I'm here to remind your responsibility and involvement in the spiritual care of your children.

As in the past, we'll begin this new Pastoral Year having some meetings with all parents.

These meetings represent an opportunity to become more conscios to be "a people on its journey" that cannot ever state to have reached the final destination.

Thus, in educating our children in the faith we must be all involved and mainly agree

with the educational proposal that has the sacraments as milestones.

That's why we'll meet on January the 9th at 4:30 p.m. in our Main Church.

Sure of your comprehension and cooperation for the well-being of your children,

kind regards

                                                                                       The parish priest and the catechists

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