• Short Summary

    A RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL IN WHICH LIVE SNAKES PLAY THE MAIN PART TOOK PLACE YESTERDAY (THURSDAY) IN THE VILLAGE OF COCULLO, CENTRAL ITALY.

  • Description

    A RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL IN WHICH LIVE SNAKES PLAY THE MAIN PART TOOK PLACE YESTERDAY (THURSDAY) IN THE VILLAGE OF COCULLO, CENTRAL ITALY.

    THE PICTURESQUE VILLAGE, HIGH IN THE ABRUZZI MOUNTAINS, HAS LONG BEEN FAMED AS A SNAKE-CATCHING CENTRE, AND MANY OF THE MEN MAKE THIS THERE CHIEF OCCUPATION. THEY ARE KNOWN AS "SEPARI".

    ON THURSDAY HUNDREDS OF LIVE SNAKES, MAINLY LARGE REPTILES OF THE HARMLESS GRASSA-SNAKE VARIETY, WERE TAKEN IN SOLEMN PROCESSION THROUGH THE STREETS.

    THE PROCESSION IS HELD TO COMMEMORATE THE FEAST DAY OF THE LOCAL SAINT, THE DOMENICO, WHO IS SAID TO HAVE RID THE AREA OF A PLAGUE OF POISONOUS SNAKES MANY CENTURIES AGO. BEGINNING AT THE CHURCH, THE PROCESSION FEATURES A STATUE OF THE SAINT, AROUND WHICH MANY OF THE SNAKES ARE DRAPED.

    HELD EACH YEAR ON THE FIRS THURSDAY IN MAY THE FESTIVAL ATTRACTS TOURISTS AND SIGHTSEERS FROM ITALY AND ABROAD. FOR SEVERAL WEEKS PRIOR TO THE EVENT THE MEN OF THE VILLAGE CATCH AS MANY SNAKES AS CAN BE FOUND. SOME OF THE REPTILES ARE POISONOUS, BUT THE "SEPARI" HAVE BECOME SO ADEPT AT THEIR JOB THAT THERE ARE SCARCELY ANY REPORTS OF THE MEN BEING BITTEN. THE LAST FATALITY FROM A SNAKE BITE WAS MANY YEARS AGO.

    THE "SEPARI" ALSO TAKE PART IN THE PROCESSION, WALKING ALONGSIDE THE STATUE WITH SNAKES ENTWINED ROUND THEIR NECKS AND ARMS. FOR THE VILLAGERS OF COCULLO THE SNAKES SYMBOLISE THE EVIL OF TEMPTATION.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA8JRL4UUAJB0Z3KYI8U13L2GG5
    Media URN:
    VLVA8JRL4UUAJB0Z3KYI8U13L2GG5
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    06/05/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:22:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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