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FEB. 2008


Capter 2

Make acquaintance with Micottis

Micottis, the way it used to be before the earthquake of the 6 May 1976, with short movies and pictures.

- The language

Until about 1955, the language spoken in this little village was «ponasen», a slav language, mixed with some words issued from the friulan dialect.

Our slav language was rather archaic and we would be surprised comparing it nowadays with other slav languages. Even if we could find the roots of this language, we would certainly note many dfferencies. In fact, there was no evolution of the slav language spoken here in Micottis. This is probably due to the isolation of the people who firt migrated to this area and who had no longer contact whith their own original community.

These people gave slav names to trees, herbs, birds, insects, surrounding mountains, etc. They used to count op to ten, on their fingers, in the salv dialectthere is no written record of this periodmay be they never learned to write.

After de migratory boom of 1955, many inhabitants left this area and migrated all over the world. From this moment, the local language «
ponasen» began to be less used. Nowadays, young people hardly know it : the speak much more frequently Italian. Many former emigrants speak French, wich makes it very easy for a Frenchman coming to Micottis to make himself understood and makes the communication far less complicated.

In the past, the languages spoken in this area were : slav, friulan and italian, in order of importance.

- Everyday’s life

Life was hard in these valleys, and the climate rather coldthe soil was poor and there was little production. There where no machineseverything was made by hand and working was hard and tiring.

They used to grow beans, corn for the polenta and some vegetables they used to have cows, sheep, some had a pig, some chickens... They were quite fond of chestnutsin fact, the emblem of Micottis is chestnut-bur and there is a chestnut feat every year.

There were two mills where they used to grind the corn to make flour for the polenta ; only one of them was still working in 1965, the one you can see on the movie. It got severely damaged during the earthquake and no longer exists.

In the past, they used to make a material called
«mezze lane», a friulan word which means «halfwool», it was wawen with a rope made of wool and hemp. Branches of hemps were put to macerate, and after appropriate processings, they would make the string. Wool was the production of their own sheep.

Micottis has always been very active. You will be able to see more about it’s activities in the movie and the pictures.

- The folklore

The little tune you can hear opening this web site is very famous and considered as «official» introduction for every dancing partythe instrument is the accordion. In the short film you can see an old inhabitant of Micottis playing the tune :

«pleese, pleese kuos» - dance, dance, blackbirde - «kuo gjes ke pleese ke si buos» - how shall I dance, I’m bare foot. Of, course, this rimes only in «»…

Every year, during three weeks, there was the so called «pust» - carnival-. They used to play sketches in connection with events or actuality of the previous year. A trompet-player would cross the streets of the village in order to inform the polulation that the show was about to beggin.

People would gather in a house with a spacious roomthe actors would play their sketches and after that everybody would move to the pub and the show would go on with wine and dances…on the little tune which I already mentionned before. On Ash-Wednesday the
«» -the carnival- was over : on Saturday there was one for the children and on Sunday le one for the adults.

- Solidarity in the village and other traditions

When the time for making wood arrived -wood which was used for cocking or for heating in winter- people used to help each other. They would say : “Can you come «za dielouza». This means « Can you come and work for me ?», for example to carry the wood from the forest to the road and from there to my house.

«Za dielouza» ment that a day’s work -or even more- was “payed back” But not with money : “Today you work for me and whenever you need my help, I’will work for you.” They used to repay with as many working hours or days the received themselves.

When a family needed a wheelbarrow or a hand-cart, or any other tool, one was bound to lend it : no way of refusing. There was a sort of «» in the village for the usage of tools, bicycles, weelbarrows, hand-carts…

When one needed starting a fire in his stove in the morning, he would go and ask for some live coals to some neighbour who had already lit his own.

It was an habit in those days to lend each other whatever was needed : flour for the polenta, salt, eggs, sawing needles...and so on.

Before electricity arrived to this remote area, the houses were lighted by oil lampsthese lamps would be used aswell for lightening the way when one wanted to pay a visit by night time, to relatives or friends living in some remote place.

- The people of Micottis

In Micottis, parents would teach their children to behave properly, not to act shamelessly and to be honnest.

People were very industrious and had a very sharp sense of duty. Our fellow-citizen were always very much appreciated abroad, very well accepted and they used to integrate very easily their new envirement.

Men and women of Micottis are married to people coming from other countries or italian regions. There are two Slovenian spouses, two German, a French, an American, a Sicilian, one from Trieste, a husband from Sardinia ans several others from Friul.

Since 1800, it is reported in the parish archives that every family hat a slav nickname. These nicknames are still used nowadays.

People with the surname
Micottis still have different nicknames who indicate the stem of the family : : «Dusigj», «Kagjon», «Kuzulun», «Fratinigj», «Marzuoligj». A family tree starts from each one of them : you will be able to see it in another chapter.

The surname MICOTTIS existed before 1800 ; it’s origins are not Geeek, like some people think. Where does the surname Micottis come from ? I’ll tell you know next month !

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