Snakes and Snakebite: Cocullo celebrates San Domenico
May 2, 2012 1 Comment
The May 1 in Cocullo, Abruzzo region, celebrates San Domenico, and like other habits in which the pagan rite intersects with Christian devotion, the same applies on this occasion, when the devotion to St. Dominic, the patron for snakebite, intersects with the archaic ritual of “Snakes“ in the picturesque as the only rite of serpari.
For the festival the statue of the saint is carried in procession, adorned with tangled snakes, harmless and very popular in the mountains around the country, including Saettoni (struts), Cervoni, Biacchi and Biscie. The so-called Serpari (snake-charmers) collect precisely in the mountains around the country these snakes in the cold season, during their lethargy.
Before the procession are these men to show the snakes to visitors, allowing them to touch and handle, while singing folk songs in the streets of the village. After Holy Mass, in the late morning, the statue of the saint is covered with snakes and the procession begins. The parade stretches down the narrow streets of Cocullo giving suggestive and exciting images. A different kind of day that reconciles souls with nature, cheers the hearts with the suggestions that offers a small mountain village untouched, leads to sharing in mixed devotion to folklore.
The encounter with the snake-charmers, a chance to stroke a snake and overcome fears, to crowd around the statue of the saint asking for help for health, or simply sit on the edge, in front of a spectator event so special, inevitably arouses a deep sigh, which is worth a try.