(Articolo in inglese traduzione di Patrizia Fadda)
We are proud to announce an extraordinary event: following 19th December, the most famous character of Belgium, the Manneken-Pis, will be dressed with the costume of the traditional sicilian folklore, the Taratata’ costume of Casteltermini, a small town not far from Agrigento. Lillo Chiarenza firmly wanted this event in order to honour his hometown and its traditions. Mr Chiarenza, what’s this Taratata’? – Every year in May – since 1600- the town of Casteltermini celebrates the Holy Cross. The celebrations get the acme with the parade and the show of the traditional Taratata’ group, This group was reunited in 1972 by Franco Romeo. He invited some young friends such as Mimmo Romeo, Palmino Mondello, Pepe Dolore, Toto Maratta, Coco Cunetto, Carmelo Scozzari, Nuccio Sappia and me. The show consists on the simulation of fight between two young members of the group. Who is Manneken-Pis and what does he represent? I like Manneken-Pis so much.It simbolizes the character of Belgian people. It’s quite curious that the most visited monument by tourists is a little peeing boy! There are so many legends about this boy, the most popular tells about an involuntary act of heroism. It seems that the boy saved the entire population by peeing on a barrel of gun powder.
had his first dress done in 1698. Since then he has collected many outfits, uniforms of all kinds, offered by associations, heads of state… Why did you think to dress this statue just with the Taratata’ costume? Looking at Manneken-Pis wardrobe, I grasped that all the cultures and tradition were represented so I had the idea to put the Taratata’ costume on this famous character in order to give our little town, Casteltermini, the chance to be seen and known by a great number of people. So, I applied to the municipality of Bruxelles, then I called the president of the group Mr Fulvio Galione. He was enthusiastic and immediately had the little costume ready, complete with accessories like the little sword . This event is to thank the president for his activism. Furthermore, we should know that,although he’s 600 years old, the little statue has only 934 costumes and the criteria to accept a costume for the little statue’s collection are very strict. Does it means so much to you? I’ve always paid attention both to the sicilian and the belgian tradition. I wrote a book about my hometown Casteltermini, to honour the places and people of my childhood. I decided to write another book telling about the Grand Place in Bruxelles,the place where I’ve li ed for 30 years and the most beautiful square in the world. This gave me the chance to meet people, know details and stories of the belgian civilization.
Wearing the Manneken-Pis in Taratata costume means so much to me, because it joins my origins and my present life. Furthermore it gives a unique opportunity to my town, Casteltermini, to show its ancient tradition. How and where will the ceremony of 19 December take place? There will be two moments. The first will take place in the “gothic” hall. There the costume will be officially given to the city of Bruxelles, then the person encharged to dress the Manneken-Pis will put the costume on the statue in rue de l’Etuve. During this ceremony young people will act the typical fight with swords and dances. The citizens coming from Casteltermini live mainly in Châtelet and La Louvièr, they will certainly enjoy the atmosphere. We invited the Italian ambassador in Bruxelles, Mr Grassi, and he promised he’ll come. Later people can taste some specialties from Casteltermini and I’ll give them my book about my hometown so to stimulate their curiosity to visit it. The statue will wear the costume all day long, then it will be put away. Since then every year, on 19 December,Bruxelles will remember and celebrate Casteltermini and so will the citizens of sicilian origins.