Alta Badia - Dolomites ItalySuedtirol



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Trá zetoles - The conscripts' celebration


For the young men of the Val Badia, as in all Ladin valleys around the Sella group, the medical examination to determine their fitness for military service was a cause for celebration. The custom was called "trá zetoles". The name derives from the so-called zetoles - conscription cards that conscripts received as proof of their suitability for military service. It meant being healthy and in good shape and was the gateway to the adult world.

On the Sunday after the visitation, the military-eligible boys went to mass wearing their finely decorated feathered hats. They spent the day going from inn to inn, singing and expressing their joy of being declared healthy and of belonging now with full entitlement to the adult world.

Those young men who were excluded from military service were ironically called les vedles - the old women. They had to put playing cards or white feathers on their hats and were the subject of jokes and sneers.