Festival of the snake catchers - Cocullo (Aq)
The Festival of the snake catchers or snake-charmers is an annual festival in Cocullo, in honour of St. Dominic.
St. Dominic of Sora, protector from snake bites, fevers, rabies, was a benedictine monk and abbott in the 10th Century.
The festival is one of the most unique among Italy’s religious festival. Its origins date back to paganism and have roots in an ancient celebration in honour of the Roman goddess Angitia with powers to protect from snake bites.
On 1 May, in the small town of Cocullo, a wooden statue of St. Dominic, taken from the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, is carried trough the street completely covered with live snakes by specialist handlers called serpari.
The snakes are released into the woods after the celebrations.
immagine di Olga e Zanni - cc-by-nd-2.0