Positano – Festa della zeppola

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The second day of the donut festival really has nothing to do with donuts. It is all about fun. The day started with a friendly football match on the beach, followed by games for the kids.
How this for simplicity: Take 40 kids on a beach, make them take off their shoes. Take shoes to other end of beach and mix up in a big pile. Divide kids into teams and tell them to go find their own shoes, put them on and the first team back wins!
 Later when the sun went down we went home for a quick rest before the evening festivities. As I rummaged through the cupboard looking for a pair of matching gloves I heard a strange noise reverberating across the town. I opened my window and heard drums, tambourines, bells and singing, coming from somewhere in the streets above me.
“Carlo, come listen! What is it?”
“Its the trik trak e botte procession for New Year. They start at the Chiesa Nuova and parade through the town, along the road and down to the beach. They do it every year, you must have seen it before.”
I had somehow missed this procession in all the years that I’ve been here so we waited until we heard it getting closer and closer and ran down to the street to watch:

Down to the beach which was nearly as busy as in the summer. Children ran around in the sand, cheeks red from the cold wind, band members in stripey shirts mingled with tourists and locals. A coconut shy had been set up with tin cans baring the faces of various locals and people lined up smiling, waiting to throw balls at relatives and friends. Others queued for pizza, broccoli and sausage sandwiches, coke and wine while others danced to the music, food in their hands.

More and more people seemed to be arriving. The beach was filling up fast, even though the wind was cold and there was nowhere to sit. Everyone was happy, staggering across the sand, greeting friends, sharing slices of pizza and glasses of wine. There were more games going on, pillow fights by two contestants balanced on a beam across the sand, a childrens game involving a fishing boat, oars with scoops tied to the ends and buckets of water, and of course the traditional festa della zeppole tug of war.

Once upon a time this tug of war was taken seriously and the teams were carefully picked way before the contest. Not any more. Last night I found myself tapping large men on the shoulders, asking them if they would join one of the teams, trying unsuccessfully to convince Carlo to join in too and even threatening to join in myself. Eventually two teams were formed, one group of seven large beefy men and one group of ten smaller young lads, mainly in pink sweaters. The contest began and the beefy guys roared and pulled at the rope, while the pink sweaters giggled and slipped, and eventually won, leaving the beefcakes sweating and shaking their heads in bemusement.

At 11pm a fireworks display lit up the beach and we slipped away, leaving the crowds behind. Now we have one evening of rest at home before the noisiest and last celebration of the year takes place…


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