Ritual of the Serpari – Cocullo
Every year on May 1st, Saint Domenico’s Day and snakes.
The Ritual of Serpari, also known as the procession of Serpari, is held every year on May 1st in Cocullo, a small village in the Province of L’Aquila, to celebrate abbot Saint Domenico’s Day.
According to tradition, Saint Domenico, an abbot and Benedictine monk who lived in Cocullo for 7 years, protects from a toothache, anger and snakebites.
The ritual starts in April, when the “serpari” hunt (not poisonous) snakes, keeping them in wooden boxes and feeding them with dead mice and boiled eggs.
On May 1st, the statue of Saint Domenico is paraded around the village and decorated with the snakes, which, at the end of the feast, are set free again.
The Serpari allow the visitors to touch and handle the snakes before the procession, which is accompanied by popular songs.
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