Serpari Festival, Cocullo

The First May, the Serpari Festival or Snake Festival is held in Cocullo for the patronal feast of St. Domenico. The devotees ring the bell in the church of St. Domenico pulling the rope by mouth, according to the tradition that says the teeth to be protected in this way by dental diseases. The statue of the Saint is brought in procession through the narrow alleys of the medieval village, and covered with live non-poisonous snakes, caught by “serpari” in spring reawakening. Girls in traditional costume, carrying baskets full of bread and victuals on their heads, follow the statue of St. Domenico. When the procession finishes, the snakes (mountain snakes, colubers, black colubers, ring snakes) are freed.

This rite comes from a pagan cult, then converted in a Christian rite. Serpari Festival attracts people from all over the world to Cocullo.

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