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The Caveja is considered the symbol of Romagna for excellence; the term comes from the peasant tradition, and indicates a steel rod welded to an upper end decorated with rings and allegorical images. The most widespread symbols, inserted between decorative elements, are those of the rooster, the crescent, the Sun, the eagle and some Christian symbols, including the Cross and the Dove .
The Caveja is an object of rural origin, which over time has become a decorative object and furnishings, a symbol of the traditional culture of this local area.
Until the first half of the twentieth century the caveja was a part of the cart; later on, while its practical functions were completely lost as a result of the mechanization of agricultural work, it took on new meanings, finding itself to be a sort of symbol of the strong values embodied in the idea of "Romagna".
"Caveja" is a dialect term that literally means "ankle". In the same way as the ankles bear the weight of the body and represent the connection between legs and feet, the Caveja was a fundamental tool in agriculture because it connected the animals to the cart, favoring their movement.
In other Italian region, the word "Caveja" does not have this metaphorical meaning and strong value.
The origins of caveja are unclear: we do not know when it was introduced in Romagna, which object constitutes its archetype and when it begun being decorated.
One of its oldest ancestors may be the pivot used by the Babylonians, an example of which is now preserved at the Field Museum in Chicago together with the remains of a cart dating back to 5400 years ago, some other instead hypothesizes that the direct ancestors of the caveja are the decorations of Shiite wagons introduced in Romagna when the Celts settled in the region, before the Roman occupation started.
Another story, the Caveja as a symbol
At the beginning of the twentieth century the Caveja began to be considered a real symbol of Romagna.
At that time a group of intellectuals made some periodicals dedicated to the traditions of the region and began to organize activities and congresses aimed at imposing certain symbols and creating a sense of identity, they tried to save cultural memory from oblivion, they studied the traditions, noted popular songs, fragments, dialects, aiming to train specialists able to reconstruct and disseminate the history of Romagna.
With the passage of time, the Caveja assumed the role of magical object in the popular culture, with propitiatory properties. Its frequent use was in fact in specific rituals - for example - to prevent the arrival of thunderstorms or other bad weather, to protect the fields and the harvest, to predict the sex of the unborn, to attract or capture bees , or even to free someone struck by a spell.
The real Caveja today is used only in historical processions but many companies, restaurants, craftsmen in Romagna still associate it with their own brand to stress either the pride of belonging to Emilia Romagna Region as a land of soul as well as nurture and disseminate strong identity value.