Another interesting carnival custom with its own history can be found in the southernmost village of South Tyrol, in Salorno.
Image gallery: Perkeo’s Maschggra - Carnival in Salorno
The origin of the Salorno Carnival - in the South Tyrolean dialect the carnival period is called “Maschggra” - goes back to the 19th century. At that time, an Egetmann Parade as in Termeno (Tramin), was also held in this village (Salurn). “Perkeo’s Maschggra” or “Salurner Maschggra”, embodies the revival of the carnival custom in Salorno: every second year - alternating with the Egetmann Parade - numerous associations and groups of friends take part and represent a profession or a social group in the parade.
The central figure is Perkeo, who keeps the village in suspense for a week. The legend says, that Perkeo is a dwarf born around 1702 in Salorno. As a court jester at Heidelberg Castle, he finally became the cupbearer of the Palatine Elector Karl Philipp III and guarded a huge wine barrel. Every time someone offered him a glass of wine, he answered - according to legend - “perchè no?” (Italian for “why not?”). For this reason he used to be called “Perkeo”.
His end is also legendary: a doctor advised him to drink a glass of water for the sake of his health. No sooner said than done - and Perkeo fell dead… And exactly this Perkeo sets off for Salorno at carnival to storm the village and rule for one week. By the way: for the participants of “Perkeo’s Maschggra” there is a special code, the “Codex de Perkeo”. It is also unusual that - unlike the other carnival customs - both women and men may take part.