Fairs and traditional markets
Autumn, here in Salento, is a period traditionally dedicated to big shopping. In the past there were big fairs in which to buy new farming tools, new farm animals, seeds and whatever was needed for agriculture. It was full of voices shouting “Accattati, accattati!”, “Comprate, comprate!” (buy, buy) and often there were particular products, exotic animals from who knows where.
The tradition of fairs hasn’t gone lost and on religious feasts it is common to find fairs in towns and villages that sell anything from clothes to technology, from gift goods to fruit.
During these occasions very ancient traditions come to life again: even if the goods for sale have changed, the spirit hasn’t. The most sought after stalls are always the ones that sell animals and are of course surrounded by rejoicing children at all times. During the fairs one invites family and friends for big lunches as if to celebrate prosperity and the beginning of activity again. The town is festive and a joyous atmosphere fills the streets.
Here is a listof the biggest and most interesting fairs a few minutes from Leuca. The Cappeddah di Taviano fair is perhaps the most ancient ever attested. At the beginning it was a market but it grew in time. Today, it is a fair specialised in artisanal pottery, vases, plates. The best of Lecce ceramics.
The Madonna dell’Uragano fair in Cocumola, a fraction of Minervino di Lecce, still has the traditional livestock market, the race of the most beautiful horsesbut also a lot of artisanal goods.
On the feast of the physician Saints, Cosmas and Damien, worshipped a lot round our parts, thare is the Uggiano La Chiesa fair in which to mingle among a lt of people and products on sale.
The San Francesco fair is in October for the celebration of the Patron Saint in Scorrano. It is a small fair but enriched by the “sagra di Frate Focu” (Brother Fire fair) where the main dishes are based on the most ‘firey’ of all vegetables: the pepper.
In October there is also the San Vito fair in Ortelle and the the pork fair in Muro Leccese. The Ortelle fair is specialised in animals bred in the Ortelle and Vignacastrisi areas with ancient breeding techniques, while the Muro Leccese fair, called “Fiera de lu porcu meu” (my pig fair) is a tribute to the pig in all its forms.
The tradition of fairs is a folkloric element highly beloved especially by overseas tourists. It is a wonderful occasion to appreciate the excellencies of our gastronomy, artisanship and agricultural production.
Our love for our roots is very strong in Salento like the lively weekly markets organised in every town even though globalisation would encourage to spend in malls. Stalls full of vegetables, fruit, clothes, linen, liven up the squares of our towns and are an excellent occasion to observe a piece of daily life, besides buying extremely fresh goods and quality products, or just wonder among the colours and odours of Salento.