The Peppi Nappa Carnival in Sciacca

A thousand colors embellish Sciacca during its carnival, which is one of the most beautiful in Sicily. Allegorical floats and merry making people dancing in groups enliven the large Piazza A. Scandaliato with its gorgeous view of the harbour area. Stalls, music, confectionery and carnival items make the city the capital of entertainment.

Peppi Nappa is the mask chosen as a symbol of the Sciacca carnival. This character is represented every year in a float, at the back of which sausages are roasted and distributed along with wine. On the Mardi Gras, the last and most exciting day of the Carnival, Peppi Nappa is detached from the cart and burnt in the middle of Piazza A. Scandaliato. All the participants dance in a big circle on the notes of the anthem and throw thousands of carnival hammers at the stake of Peppe Nappa.

“Carnival comes every year! Do you know what the people of Sciacca do? They go down the marina and wait for the king who goes back to his town. There he comes singing, dancing, laughing and merry making the Nippiti Nnà. Refrain: It’s Peppi Nappa, It’s Peppi Nappa, what curious and funny name what Nippiti Nnà. It’s Peppi Nappa, it’s Peppi Nappa, so kind as to bring Carnival to this town. Come runnig boys, Peppi is here, the Nappa he brought to this town, pretty women, the sky and the sea make us sing with happiness. It’s Peppi Nappa, It’s Peppi Nappa, what curious and funny name what Nippiti Nnà”

It was Giuseppe Pitrè, a Sicilian ethnologist of fame, the first to speak of the Sciacca Carnival in his Library of Sicilian folk traditions, published at the end of the nineteenth century. The origins, however, are to be traced back to
the cult of Saturn – Kronos attested by the name of Mount Kronio and to the Saturnalia, feasts that took place between 17 and 23 December. They were characterized by an exasperated search for food and sexual pleasure and by an upheaval of social roles. The killing of the party king tragically marked the return to reality and normal life.