|Chloe Salmon reaches the top of the greasy pole and clutches her|
prize of cash. Photograph by Sarah Scragg, State Library of
Queensland: Australian Italian Festival
|Picture attribution: Landscape with greasy pole. Majolica Cloister|
of Santa Chiara, Naples, (1739-42). Architect Domenico Antonio
Vaccaro, painters, Guiseppe and Donato Massa.
We repeat community and family traditions, but often we don't know where or how they originated. The greasy pole, which features at each Australian Italian Festival is such a tradition. Everybody enjoys the spectacle and amusement but does anybody know the origins of this challenge? It began in a time when the poor and the rich ate very, very different foods. The competition, which requires strategy and stamina, traditionally, has as its reward, foods of some value, like prosciutto e formaggio! Winners of the greasy climb were rewarded with food that was usually unavailable to them.