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One of the oldest tradition of Bormio is the “Carnevàl di Mat”
A long tradition from the past
The “Carnevàl di Mat” (the Carnival of Mad people) is an age-old tradition, unique on its kind. The young people of Bormio chose the Podestà di Mat (Podestà of Mad), a prince elected for joke on behalf of the real governor of the town.
During his weekly kingdom, the power was suspended and the only one rule was to have a pleasant life and a lot of fun. Furthermore, it was forbidden to commit about serious things.
The public ceremony of investiture was held on Tuesday during the last week of the Carnival. A long carnival procession consisting of the group of the Mad, the Doctor and Harlequin accompanied the new governor from his home to the Kuerc square. Here the nomination was held while the “Doctor” read his speech, repeated aloud by the “Harlequin”, consisting of the moral, physical, public and private defects of the newly elected. Hereafter his orders, enriched by the stories of the inhabitants and the happenings of Bormio, were transcribed. Thus everything that happened during the year was made public, even what had willingly been kept secret.
During his week of kingdom, the Podestà and his mad society collected taxes and gifts in Bormio and the surrounding valleys.
Then, on the Saturday before the end of the kingdom, everybody met in the main square to cook the polenta (cornmeal mush) and share it with the poor.