During the Carnival period, the Maiorchino tourney animates the streets of Novara di Sicilia. The Maiorchino tourney is a popular game of the pastoral tradition, which consists of men’s competition in which the participants compete to roll a form of local pecorino cheese, called Maiorchino, along a path of about two kilometers through the streets of the town. 16 teams take part in the challenge, made up of three players each; the winner is the one who, with fewer strokes, reaches the finish line first. Each team appoints its own leader. To judge the outcome and the regularity of the competition, there are the “competition judges”.

The starting launch takes place through the so-called “lazzada”: a string of about 1.00-1.20 meters, twisted around the wheel, is unrolled with force, giving the necessary thrust to the cheese wheel to start its journey. The team whose form reaches the finish point first with the same number of throws wins. The game has a precise regulation and some specific dialectal terms that indicate moments, actions (ways and effects of the launch), places (stages of the path).

Spectators actively participate in the competition, cheering for the favorite teams: there is an atmosphere of exultation and exaltation, of emulation and rivalry, of comparisons and preferences, of forecasts and forecasts. A moment of great collective importance, in which tourists and patrons also participate.

The party ends with a tasting of typical local products offered by local producers, among which, of course, the Maiorchino stands out together with other cheeses. Traditionally, maccheronata with pork sauce with a generous sprinkling of grated Maiorchino is a must.

According to some sources, already in the 1600s there was an event called “gioco della Maiorchina“, during which the shepherds challenged each other by rolling the cheeses they produced along the streets of the town, with the aim of demonstrating how well the seasoning was done.

Campisi C., Pecore e pecorino della Sicilia. Catania, Francesco Battiato Editore, 1933
Giallombardo F., La tavola l'altare la strada. Scenari del cibo in Sicilia. Palermo, Sellerio, 2003
REI - Libro delle celebrazioni - Festa del Maiorchino https://reis.cricd.it/reisicilia/details/2/38