We forgot our anniversary yesterday, 28 years, but it's not the first time and probably not the last and besides that we had a good excuse as yesterday was the spring Transumanza.
What is a Transumanza, you might ask?
It's the migration of the beloved Sicilian donkey (if you haven't read last week's post on them, you can find it here) and other domesticated farm animals from the lowlands where they spend winter to the higher, cooler terrain of the mountains. Literally, the word means "crossing the land".
It's a big event—but not in the same way you might imagine they hearded (and maybe still do) cattle in the American old west, like I said, these animals are beloved here. As Franca shared in the essay mentioned above, just the fact they are here is a major win for Troina and Sicily, one in which the entire community here takes enormous pride.
We were fortunate to participate in this year's transumanza, walking amongst and alongside over a 100 of these humble, charming, charismatic creatures through the hilly countryside and up the steep path to our town of Troina where they were greeted by crowd-lined streets, young children and delighted revelers. Afterwards, while the donkeys settled the night in a nearby wood, we ate, drank and listened to folk music with others from our community. This morning, the heard continued on its way, up into the surrounding hills where they will remain until this Fall, when just maybe we'll join them again.
Check out our reel on Instagram to see this in action:
Not on Social Media? No worries, you can watch a version here:
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