• Art & Culture

The Winter Songs

The legend of the coldest days in the year

In Cremona's province there are some songs which are generally re-proposed in the coldest days of the year, to re-live the ancient rural atmosphere.  
In particular in Cornaleto, Crotta d'Adda, Formigara, Gombito, Pizzighettone, Soresina, San Bassano, Trigolo, and other villages, the people used to sit around a big fire, out of the church or along the river to sing together with a choir and taste some wine and traditional food. The lyrics are various but they have some themes in common: the love and the winter.
The so called giorni della merla are, according to the tradition, the last three days in January (29th, 30th and 31st) or the two first days in January and the first of Febraury. According to the tradition these are the three coldest days in the year.

The origin of this expression "i giorni della merla" is not completely clear.
According to a source dating back to the year 1740, there are two hyothesis: the first is about the story of a cannon called Merla which had to be tansported to the other bank of the Po river. The river had to be frozen in order to transport it; the second is about a noble woman, called Ms. Merli, who had to cross the Po river to find an husband and could do that only when the river was frozen and she could pass on it.
According to some other sources the explanation could derive from a legend according to which, in order to fight against the low temperatures, a blackbird and her chicks entered a chimney: at the beginning they were black but when they came out from the chemney on the 1st of February they were completely grey because of the soot. From that day all the female balckbirds and the chicks were grey.
According to the legend, if these days are cold, the Spring will be good; if they are hot the Spring will arrive late.
Info: Infopoint Cremona - tel. + 39 0372 407081
info.turismo@comune.cremona.it

Take me here: The Winter Songs

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