The “Tucau” and his stick
Before motorized transport of animals became widespread, the journey from the stables to the Fair took place on foot.
The “tucai” oversaw these journeys, similarly to what still happens today in mountain areas. They were well aware of the intrinsic value of the animal, its conditions, and the sacrifices and costs required for its breeding.
Often, the “tucai” themselves were the owners the animals and they were assisted by their trusted employees.
The quintessential work tool of the “tucau” was his stick, used to direct the animal and mark the rhythm of its steps.
The stick was made of chestnut wood, curved with the help of fire and water. The handle was relatively thin, while the stem gradually swelled towards the tip, which was rounded.
The purpose of the stick was not hitting the animal but guiding it: it was used as a kind of rein; by touching the animal’s snout with it, it was possible to adjust the rhythm of march.
Expert “tucai” were able to determine the quality and consistence of the animal’s muscle, and therefore establish its value, through a light pressure of the tip of the stick in the belly and in the thigh.
Over the years, this traditional stick has become one of the symbols of the Fat Ox Fair in Carrù.
Carrù’s Pro Loco, inspired by Carlo Rinaldi and thanks to the commitment of its president Gino Nasari, decided to revive this symbol through an original initiative.
Each year 100 sticks are produced by local craftsmen and then sold during the Fair for 40€ each (at the Palatenda, the venue of gastronomic events).
A metal label, indicating the edition of the Fair, is added on the stem and the name of the purchaser is inscribed in a participation register.
In the following years, by presenting the stick, participants can have the label of that edition added on the stem.