The Carnival of Putignano has absolutely the longest duration of them all. In fact, it lasts from December 26th (Saint Stephens Day) to February 12th (Shrove Tuesday). On the last evening of the Carnival there is a culminating carnival parade, a symbolic funeral of the carnival. The origins of this Carnival go as far back as 1394, making it one of the most ancient carnivals in Europe. It was in that year that the Knights of Malta (who held the power in the regian at the time), took the relics of Saint Stephen away from the seaside, because wanted to protect them from the raiding Saracens. They felt that the relcis were no longer safe at their original location in the Saint Stephen’s Abbey in Monopoli. Thus the saints remains were brought to Putignano in 1394. Upon the relics’ arrival, the peasants, who were cultivating the land, abandoned their work to follow the procession. Once the religious ceremony had concluded, the people continued to celebrate. They sang and danced. Legend has it that a recitation in local dialect, with improvised verse and ironic poetry, gave life to their unique custom of “Propaggini.” Today in Putignano, poets still recite in dialect on stage in the main piazza and entertain everyone with their satirical rhymes during Carnival.
As is customary for all the Carnivals, the town explodes with masks and papier-mâché floats that parade the city streets in all their colourful magnificence.

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