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Masked Ball

Traditional Masked Ball

Carnival Time at Prato allo Stelvio

The masked ball is an ancient carnival tradition in Prato allo Stelvio. On the Sunday and Tuesday the Carnival masks are worn on stage, often representing traditional old-town characters.

As soon as the masked dancers enter a tavern, the Bajaz (a sort of clown) inaugurates the performance. Dressed in a chequered suit, white collar and pointed hat adorned with colored ribbons and flowers, he waves a stick in time to the music, usually played on an accordion. There are eight masked couples standing in the wings, waiting for their turn to perform – but they are all men dressed up as men and women! The couples are dressed to represent couples from different social strata going from the 'gentleman and lady' who open the show, to what could be termed as 'the tough and his wench' (Zoch und Pfott), dressed in rags representing 'fertility'.

The origin and true significance of this custom remains unknown. Since the first performing couple is dressed as a bride and groom, one theory has it that it is a type of wedding procession. Others believe it is a ritual representing an ancient death dance, since the couples remain silent and face to the left.
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Welcome in Prato all Stelvio
Hike in the Stelvio National Park, bike along the Roman trade route Via Claudia Augusta and ski with panoramic view on the Ortles. Relax in small villages and peaceful valleys with amiable hosts. Discover numerous cultural sites and the unique culinary delights of Venosta Valley.