Not only the Ladin language, but also Ladin customs and traditions are nowadays still in use in the Alta Badia.
As the population is very Catholic, most Ladin traditions are connected with Christian feast days. However, several customs fell into obscurity and are not practiced any more, but many customs have survived and are still celebrated today and performed in the original way:
“Donacia” or “Poscignara”:
on January 6 (Epiphany), girls use to dress up as “Poscignara”, a beasty, old and wrinkled woman, and trek from house to house in order to cast out the evil spirits of the past year. On their backs they carry a huge basket for picking up naughty children.
“La granara de saresc”:
on Palm Sunday, the last Sunday before Easter, children take their huge branches of willow catkins to church, where they are blessed by the priest. Afterwards the branches are fixed at the garden fence in order to protect from evil.
“Festa de Santa Maria dal Ciüf”:
one of the most beautiful feast days of the year is the “Festa de Santa Maria dal Ciüf”, when the Blessed Mary with Flower is celebrated. This is the day when farmers bring a basket filled with medicinal herbs, flour, salt and flowers to church. The priest blesses this basket, which is kept at home and its contents are burned in case of severe thunder storms.
“Tò la nöcia” or “rubè la nöcia”:
“stealing the bride” is a custom, which is not only performed in the Alta Badia - friends of the bridal couple “kidnap” the bride during the wedding celebration and take her to different bars where they drink, celebrate and dance. When the bridegroom realizes that his wive has been “stolen”, he sends the bridesman to bring her back. In the meantime, the bridegroom stays with the other guests and waits. The bridesman has to pay the drinks of those who “kidnapped” the bride and to bring her back to her husband. Afterwards the celebrations continue.
Typical for the Dolomite vally are also the traditional costumes, which are worn on special occasions such as processions and weddings.