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The Feast of the Snake Catchers in Cocullo




The Feast of the Snake Catchers 2013 will be celebrated on Wednesday May 1st

Abruzzo is a land where ancient traditions have been passed on since a lost time: a land of ancestral cults, beauty and mystery.
This image of Abruzzo is represented by one of the most cherished cults which is the cult of Cocullo, a small town near L'Aquila. Here, a beautiful and ancient rite is repeated every year- the Feast of Snake Catchers.

The Christian tradition has linked it to Saint Domenico from Sora, a monk who lived in the XI century and cured snake bites. He represented the link between Man, with his weakness and fears, and Nature, which can create and destroy life.
However, this rite is more ancient than the Christian Religion. It's linked to the cult of the pagan goddess, Angizia, who is represented with a snake in one hand and the cure for a snake bite in the other. As we can see, the Feast of Snakes is the renewal of a cult which is dated back to the fogs of our culture, the pagan time.
The 1st of May (before 2012, every 1st Thursday in May) every year at midday, Cocullo fills up with innumerable pilgrims as it did a long time ago, when there were roads to reach it and it was possible to just walk on the dangerous mountain tracks. Now, you can feel a strange atmosphere of religion mixed with superstition. In the main square, in front of Madonna delle Grazie Church, everybody waits for the Saint's statue, while mass is celebrated inside the church. At the end of the mass, the statue is taken into the square and the pilgrims fill up it with countless snakes. Then  the Saint's statue, dressed with snakes, is carried through the cobblestone paths of the town, where the past is still present.  



Video of the Feast of the Snake Catchers in Cocullo





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