Perkeo’s Carnival in Salorno

In the Carnival period, for some days in a row, the jester Perkeo takes over the leadership in the village of Salorno

In every even year, in the Carnival period, the southernmost village of the region - Salorno (Salurn) - hands over the keys to its town hall to a special guest. Perkeo, a small but hard-drinking jester, starts his crazy reign on Carnival Saturday with the “Perkeo Parade” which counts about 400 contributors both in front of and behind the curtain. Three days later, on Shrove Tuesday, Perkeo returns the keys to the mayor, and normal life goes on…

And who is Perkeo? Perkeo, actually Clemens Pankert or Giovanni Clementi, was born in Salorno in 1702. In 1720 the Palatine Elector Karl Philipp III discovered him and took him to Heidelberg as court jester, where he was soon appointed cupbearer. His job was to guard the wine barrels in the cellars of Heidelberg Castle. When asked if he wanted another glass of wine, the man always answered with the simple question: “Perchè no?” (Why not?, in Italian language).

For this reason he got the nickname Perkeo - in South Tyrolean dialect, however, the event is called “Perkeo’s Maschggra”: “Maschggra giahn” means to dress up and go out or to take part in a Carnival parade. The origins of this local custom date back to the 19th century. Before, an event similar to the “Egetmann Parade” in Termeno was held in Salorno. For the participants of “Perkeo’s Carnival” there is an own code, the “Codex de Perkeo”. A special feature is that - unlike the other Carnival customs - both women and men may take part.

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