Epiphany (Twelfth Day)

 

A band of pipers and drummers parades the streets of Ivrea early in the morning dressed in red jackets, green trousers with a red stripe, and Phrygian bonnets. Their reveille is the signal that another carnival time is about to begin. Pipers and drummers are an ever-present feature of the forthcoming celebrations. There are special tunes to be played in each district and marches for the main characters among the dramatis personae. As the band goes round the town, it naturally gathers a crowd behind it.

The end of its perambulation is the Town Hall in Piazza di Città, where the General from last year's carnival hands over his sword and cocked hat to the next incumbent.

 

 

 

 

This ceremony is conducted by the Sostituto Gran Cancelliere who substitutes for the Gran Cancelliere, an officer created when the district carnivals were unified in 1808.

His task is to keep the Record Book and write down an account of each year's proceedings. He has a place on the General's staff. Dressed in velvet and lace under a dark cloak, and wearing a wig and a tricorne, this official historian of the carnival is accompanied by four Vivandières, the only women (apart from "Violetta") in the carnival's stock characters. After the handing over, everyone moves to the Porta di Bando (Proclamation Gate) to meet the Podestà and his Credendari (Councillors) dressed in mediaeval costumes, a reminder of the days when Ivrea was a free commune.