| In 1875, the appearance on the parade of Nice of the place of the Prefecture and of Saleya Court of the famous float of RATAPIGNATA (bat), and the consequences which it pulledin the evolution of the Carnival, made fly in brightness, the allegorical and a little bit stupid "purring", to which turned the grotesque holiday.
The use of the language of Nice, the inversion and the symbol, by the directors of the float of Ratapignata, allows them to assert the existence of a community of Nice, positive and more subtle than the sometimes depreciating images let suppose which the members of the " colony winter holiday-maker " wrote on their subject, either certain reports of French civil servants considering as "underdeveloped" the populations of the country of Nice.
Ratapignata, " mouse provided with wings ", is a representation (inverted) of the Eagle, a heraldic symbol of Nice. It is also a part of the grotesque bestiary, as the Bear, animal - key in this symbolic universe. As him, it winters and wakes up in spring. Animal psychopompe, it is an intermediary between the world of the darkness and that of the light. It opens the way of the knowledge, the initiation and the wisdom, even if one should sink into the darkness to reach there.
Because effectively, according to the cultures and the traditions, the bat, "empress" of the world of Darkness, is rather in charge of negative, " devilish " values, and apparently it seems "exorcised" by any malefic power, in the carnival but also the culture of Nice.
Let us not forget that the "precentor" of the country of Nice, Menica Rondelly, the author of the hymn Nissa Bella, had created afterward, the RATAPIGNATA, (newspaper completely drafted in language of Nice), and that the bat, became one of the strongest symbols of the cultural identity of the Inhabitants of Nice.
The impact of this float, on the parade, was of a big force: it was not there, a way of putting on, at first sight, the dark, ugly, "disturbing" aspect of the bat, and of transforming it into symbol of wisdom, perspicacity, intelligence.
It represented at the same moment subtle way and "a grotesque" on behalf of the autochthons to make front for the criticisms, for the feeling of superiority of the "foreigners" towards the popular culture of Nice.
It became the totem of the Inhabitants of Nice, and the assertion of a "wild" identity
The sacrifice of the cat, scapegoat of the Carnival The realization of the float of Ratapignata, was the object of a disproportionate passion, and an act which we would consider excessive nowadays and which goes to the direction of this " wild identity " which we have just evoked.
Indeed, the suit of the extra wings of black silk, mask of bat, and body in black fur. Skins of rabbit had been at first foreseen, but as they were in insufficient number, Jean Cuggia told the journalist Joseph Suppo, that with his friends, they had filtered in on the cats of the district: and so three hundred cats of the district disappeared. Effectively, the cat always has no happy lot in carnivals, that it is in past or same even nowadays.
In the past, several cities reserved a disastrous fate for cats, during the period of the carnival as clarifies it Van Gennep. According to certain popular faiths, the put to death cats represented the devil. Venice, in the Renaissance, was the place of a cruel called " game of the Cat ", during the Carnival. Men, shaved skull, should crush with the head the body of a cat, fastened (" put in cross ") all " claws outside " on a small board, fixed against a wall or a post. In Spain, Caro Baroja clarifies that one fools cats or dogs in the place of Pelele, this model who looks like Paillassou of Nice. In that case, the cat does not undergo a tragic fate, but it is used as an intermediary among the Height and the Bottom, the Sky and the Darkness.
To Rio or Bahia, the cat was very popular during the Carnival. Because for certain the skin would be of use to the manufacture of one of the most famous percussion instruments of the Carnival, " Cuica ", according to the Brazilians, to play Cuica, means " making speak about the skin of the cat ".
In the exceptional case of the float of Ratapignata, the sacrifice of the cat represented the sacrifice inverted by the dedicated bat animal totem, by a community of Nice, who became identified positively with it.