Coumba Freida Carnivals – Aosta Valley
January-February. Bizarre historical Carnivals in 10 Aosta Valley towns.
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From January to February, the area between the Valpelline and Great St Bernard valleys, known as Coumba Freida (Combe froide), celebrates its history with its unusual Carnivals.
The Coumba Freida Carnivals recall the passage of Napoleon and his troops from this area during the May 1800 Italian Campaign.
To commemorate the occasion and ridicule the soldiers who ransacked their villages, locals wear bizarre costumes and hats decorated with beads, sequins and small mirrors, an allegorical transposition of the French soldiers’ uniforms. The landzettes (these mysterious figures)’s faces are covered by masks, and they wear belts with bells and hold horsehair to drive away hostile spirits.
Another legend tells how the Carnival was established because villagers were too embarrassed to wear formal clothing at the wedding of two elderly commoners, and so decided to wear eccentric costumes and masks.
Among the municipalities that celebrate the Coumba Freida Carnival, there are:
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