Region characterized by a deep religious faith and, still today, linked to ancient traditions, Basilicata presents places, such as those falling within the Park area, where customs and traditions whose origins are lost in the mists of time survive. Different and of extraordinary emotional impact are the folklore events that animate, throughout the year, the towns of Accettura, Calciano, Castelmezzano, Oliveto Lucano and Pietrapertosa.

In addition to the usual patronal feasts, festivals, cultural and musical events, fairs of local products, tastings of typical dishes, events that are able to play an important role of aggregation and tourist attraction are frequently organized.

Just think, just to give some examples, to the "Quagliata" Festival which takes place in Castelmezzano on the 1st Sunday of May; always in Castelmezzano the "Cuccia" Festival which is celebrated on December 13th. From 1 to 31 August in Calciano there will be the festival of "gnummuridd" (rolls of lamb and goat), de "uppdegn" (corn cob cooked in water and salt) and "Pasta" (cavatelli, orecchiette and fusilli), accompanied from painting and film shows; the Sagra "dei fagioli" takes place on March 16th in Calciano.

Worthy of note are also the fairs organized in Accettura; the fair of goods and livestock in the first days of October, the commodity market on the 1st and 16th of each month. Also worthy of mention is the fair of typical products celebrated on September 12 in Oliveto Lucano, and the many religious festivals of Pietrapertosa.

From the varied and picturesque pictures outlined, it is easy to understand the important role of cohesion played by the popular festivals that animate these places. The most extraordinary thing is undoubtedly the unconditional participation of all, as witnessed by the return to the country of numerous emigrants to consume a ritual that most often has its roots in pre-Christian rituals.

In fact, there are many feasts  that are divided between the religious motif and the pagan one: just think of the Maggi, typically pagan festivals. These are tree cults celebrated in Accettura, Oliveto Lucano, Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano, where the very close relationship that the population has with the surrounding environment, characterized by imposing mountains and dense forests, is expressed in a very clear and unequivocal manner.

The Maggi

Particularly relevant are the festivals called Maggi, a unique expression in Italy of the mountain communities in Gallipoli Cognato Park. These feast express the very close relationship that the population has with the surrounding environment characterized by mountains and thick forests.

These are the tree cults celebrated in Accettura, Oliveto Lucano, Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano. These have in common the representation of the union between a tall tree, a Cerro (May), which represents the male, and a Cima, the queen of the forest usually a holly. The two trees are cut in the woods and transported to the village through a particularly evocative ritual involving hundreds of people accompanied by the sound of pipes and drums.

The Maggio is driven by numerous pairs of oxen. During the journey there is a stop where the "maggiaiuoli" take rest: at this moment, songs and dances, once again, accompany the stop. Finally, we reach the village where the meeting between the May and the Cima (the top) takes place.

The day after the marriage between the May and the Cima, begins. The ritual involves the preparation of the groom, the May, and the Cima, the bride, the day of Pentecost. When the two parts are joined together, the marriage is consummated and the feast begins with the music and the characteristic dances. The tree obtained from the graft is hoisted at the bottom of the square.

Covered with gifts, it is ready for the final climb carried out by young people who try to climb it showing off their physical strength and ability. The Maggio remains in the square until the day of Corpus Domini.