The ritual of the "thanksgiving", or the
'razzioni di lu metiri (literally, prayers for the harvesting) is a
rather complex process. First of all, it is important to bear in mind
that the harvesters were organised into so-called "squads" or "gangs”
generally made up of seven people, one of whom had the role of gang
San Basilio, Galati
Mamertino area, 1993
(Photo by G. Fiorentino)
|The latter, also called cugghituri (gatherer) or
liaturi (binder), directed the work of the harvesters and,
depending on the layout of the field to be harvested, he would
invite them to work moving rightwards (i.e. spada,
meaning ‘sword’ because he would hold a sword in his right hand)
or leftwards (brocca or biccheri or burcheri,
meaning glass or jug, because he would be holding it in his left
hand). He would get behind the gang of harvesters and would
collect the sheaves of wheat. He had the job of addressing the
massÓru, the proprietor of the farmhouse, so that he
would distribute the wine or the meals during the day. Finally,
he was the person who invited the harvesters to ringraziari u
Signuri (thank the Lord) and sing the Salve Regina.
The thanksgiving was always performed after the short break for the
second morning meal, at around 9.30. This habit always lasted at least
twenty to thirty minutes, but could vary depending on the number of
people in the gang of harvesters, and also on how long the workers
themselves wanted it to last or on the length of the various 'razzioni
whole ritual can be split up into five sections, always present, but
variable in their duration from one performance to another .
The first of these sections is the gang leader’s invitation to pray:
Annamu, picciotti, iazzamu la menti a Diu, ogn'ura ogni mumentu!
(Come on lads, let us turn our minds to God, at every hour and at every
moment!) There follow the 'razzioni of the gatherer -- generally
an invitation to recall one’s dead or to recite prayers in honour of the
Saints or the Madonna -- which usually ends by letting the harvesters
speak and indicating the side of the line from which to start:
Attacca, spada! The third section, perhaps the most interesting one
from the ethno-anthropological standpoint, is that of the harvesters’ 'razzioni.
Starting from the person pointed to by the gatherer, capu di spata or
capu di biccheri, the harvesters follow one after another in their
recitations (Cumpagnu ti mannu lu Signuri - Binvinutu a quannu veni!
– Companion, I send you the Lord – May He be welcome when he comes!)
vocally going along the line three times over, from right to left, from
left to right and again right to left or vice-versa. This part comes to
an end with the gatherer saying the final prayer, generally song of
praise to God and the Madonna. Unlike the orations and the conclusions
of the gatherer that are always prayers, the harvesters’ 'razzioni could
have a religious character, but need not have one either, as each one of
them was free, given the pre-established recital or intonation models,
to perform pieces drawing inspiration from the Gospel, the lives of the
Saints and episodes from the Passion of the Christ or again to address
companions in an ironic tone or with mocking verses. At the end, the
gatherer would follow up the request for wine that was underlined by the
solo or choral interventions of the whole team of harvesters.
Orations of the harvesting
ORATIONS OF THE HARVESTING
ORATIONS OF INVITATION OF THE GATHERER
Let us open our minds to God/my
good sirs/let us call and praise the name/of the most holy and
divine Sacrament. (Delia)
Let us cross ourselves/as is the
duty of Christian.(Delia)
Let us say a Credo to Jesus of the
Sacraments/so that He may give us the strength and the health/to
get through this holy day/for us and all the little Christians
of the world/…Let us say a Hail Mary/an Our Father to all the
angels/and the saints in Paradise so that they may pray for us….
Attacca "spada"... (Realmonte)
Saint Anthony, when he was sick/made
a vow to go to Turkey/he was all mixed up and discouraged/as on
foot he had such a long way to travel.
My Holy sacrament God and Mary
Be careful companion for the Lord
is passing by/and when he passes by he passes by for everyone. (Galati Mamertino)
Our Lady, how hot the sun is/saint
Agatha let it set/I do not say this to you for the owner/I say
this to you for the poor day labourers.
The name of my Saint/Father and
Son and the Holy Spirit/ Sacrament, God and Mary.
He came by twice and twice we
thanked him/He came to the end (of the line) and comes back/Jesus
Christ comes back to the line. (Troina)
Three times the death and the
passion that our Lord Jesus Christ suffered has been blessed and
Careful binder for the Lord is
passing by/and when he passes he leaves grace - welcome may his
coming be! - (Delia)
OF CONCLUSION OF THE GATHERER
And the angel with a greeting said/may
hell die and Mary triumph.
the eternal God/the most holy and divine Sacrament.
Let’s take the bottle, lads, /landlord
(of the farm). (San Marco d'Alunzio)
REQUEST FOR WINE OF THE
I see him come, I see him appear/
the sacred barrel, bring it here to me.
and the little bird that sings in
the morning/bring us the wine, bring it here to us.
The scythe is called Caterina/and
if you don’t bring the wine it won’t work. (San Marco d'Alunzio)