Night of the Tarantula
Popular music festival in Salento in August in Lecce area, ending in Melpignano
“La Notte della Taranta” (The Night of the Taranta) is a popular music festival in Salento. It is held in August and it involves lots of cities in Lecce area, ending in Melpignano, where people dance till dawn.
The festival takes place in 18 different towns: Corigliano d’Otranto ,Nardò, Torre San Giovanni, Cursi, Acaja, Calimera, Zollino, Alessano, Lecce, Galatina, Carpignano, Sogliano Cavour, Soleto, Martignano, Castrignano dei Greci, Cutroﬂano, Sternatia, Martano.
About 300.000 tourists come to Salento every year to take part in the “Notte della Taranta”.
According to popular traditions, the bite of “taranta” (the tarantula spider) provokes a form of hysteric behaviour characterized by excitability and restlessness. The victims of the spider (tarantulees) had to engage in frenzied dancing to prevent death from tarantism. This peculiar kind of dance, called the tarantella, is accompanied with a particular genre of music (pizzica) and was considered a cure for the tarantism.
In order to find the right rhythm that could be able to heal the victim, several musical instruments were involved, one of them was the tambourine.
From this legend, the quote “have you been bitten by a tarantula?” is still used nowadays for those who are considered unnecessarily agitated.
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