During the carnival, the streets in Ottana provide ample space for the people in costume who seem incapable of controlling their bursts of enthusiasm. It seems you can almost hear the sos boes cowbells which mingle with the heavy steps of sos merdules creating a performance where, in the end, the crowd will play its part.
The disorderly parade of costumed men performing a ritual by miming man’s interaction with animals creating a apotropaic and totemic event.
The yoking of the costumed participants represents a natural everyday event of rural life. It has supernatural and almost devilish symbolism where the human mingles with the animal. The winner is the amorphous boe muliache. It is a dramatic and ambivalent character which is typical of the profane myth of barbaricina traditions.
Everything become a performance which is based on the combined action between merdules and boes. Merdule is an impertinent and sharp-tongued character. He walks leaning on a stick and leads a participant dressed as an ox (insogau) on a rope.
The ox, which is always speechless tries to reduce the effects of Merdule’s rude manners. Merdule often embellishes his theatrical performance by involving and sometimes dispersing the crowd. In the meantime sa filonzana, who is holding a bunch of rough woolen thread (which represents the fragility of human life), threatens continuously to cut the threads invoking the death of those who do not offer her a glass of wine. It is not unusual that the celebration is accompanied by “affuente” which is a bronze plate rhythmically banged using a big key.