"Today the Grecanici i.e. those who speak a greek dialect that in the 16th century lived in more then twenty countries , are now only 5000 and limited to five villages:The other community, the Albanian one, settled in Calabria (in the province of Cosenza) in 1448, has always kept alive its relationship with its native land and with its culture. A recent revival of interest towards this people has been shown also throught the pubblication of papers and magazines in original language.
BOVA - BOVA MARINA - CONDOFURI - ROCCAFORTE DEL GRECO - ROGHUDI."(1)
"The minority whose history is no doubt the most moving is the Provincal i.e. a minority speaking a dialect dating back to the glorious and famous "Langue D'Oc" , that was the beginning and source of all the modern western lyric poetry.
It is really amazing and fabulous that some french people live at the opposite side of the peninsula. But it sounds as a bloody event of persecution so that they are often defined as "European Jews".
The population living at GUARDIA PIEMONTESE (CS) is also Provencal, while once Waldenses lived at MONTALTO, VACCARIZZO and MORMANNO. (1)"
The costume worn by women represented a family capital. It was the work of expert craftmen and only wealthy people could afford this expense. It cost a mint of money because of the high quality fabric, silver and golden embroideries, laces, jewels.
Buying such a dress was an investiment and mothers and daughters passed it from generation to generation. In Calabria the variations can be noticed only in women's costumes.
On the contrary men's costume is rather the same and the differences concern only colours: black or blue; the type of fabric: wool or cotton ; the type of hat: a rigid cone or a soft hat, the first, decoreted with multi-coloured hatbands, was considered a sort of political mark, the belonging to brigandage as an Austrian Decree established in 1848.
On the contrary women's costume changed from area to area.
In the province of REGGIO CALABRIA the costume consisted in a skirt and heavy bodice in blue calico worn on a white blouse.
In the province of CATANZARO the costume is in red rectangular cloth worn on a pleated skirt.
In the province of COSENZA silk and satin are the favourite tissues with colg embroidered boleros hemmed with laces, two skirts laid one upon the other and stuffed in the hips. The costume was mostly worn by married women, yet their hairstyle or the veil worn in a particular way and bracelets and rings showed a person's civil state.
In Cosenza and its province the costumes underwent the influence of monasteries and also that by Waldense women who sheltered in Calabria from the D'Aosta Valley in order to escape persecutions. Speaking of popular feasts and traditions, the tourist has always the impression of a kind of homologation. But probably, beyond this there is the desire to research and give the new generations the opportunity to study their own origins. For this purpose, popular tradition schools and centres have been created in Catanzaro and Squillace.
Calabria's history can be read not only in the streets, on monuments, in the archeological museums, but also in the ethnographical and folklore collections. For example, at PALMI there are about 3000 issues, the most various, that witness calabrian popular traditions.
Some constant elements can be found in Calabrian traditions: Carnival feasts are rare and often are overlapped to pigs slaughtering as a way to exorcise sorrows and problems.
On the contrary the processions during the Holy Week are very diffused: this clearly underlines the deep link to religion and the incapacity to free anxiety into transgression. Reknown are the processions at NOCERA TERINESE (CZ), POLISTENA (RC), LAINO BORGO (CS), PLATI' (RC), CASSANO (CS). At easter you can see the so-called "AFFRUNTATA" that is the meeting between Christ Resurrected and His Mother (Polistena, Cittanova, Vibo Valentia, Tiriolo). In the province of Catanzaro you can assist the "PIGGHIATA" that is Christ caught before His Passion. In summer many villages have the tradition of "FLAGGELLATI" or "SPINATI" (PALMI - POLISTENA - ACQUARO) where the faithful are bare-footed and their heads and bodies are covered with thorns to show their penitence.
Rites with enormous characters (I GIGANTI = Giants) take place at Palmi and Seminara during the Assumption Day. In April, at CAULONIA (RC) you can see a costume fest, that of "CARACOLO".
There are also many suggestive pilgrimages: the most famous are dedicated to the Virgin Mary at Pollino, Paola, Polsi e Melito Porto Salvo.