Italy’s Snake Festival: Thousands gather to celebrate St. Domenico’s day in Cocullo

Updated On May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST
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Every year in May, snakes are placed onto the statue of St. Domenico and the statue is then carried in a procession around the town. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

Every year in May, snakes are placed onto the statue of St. Domenico and the statue is then carried in a procession around the town. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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A woman holds a snake, used to cover a wooden statue of Saint Domenico, during the St. Domenico procession in Cocullo, central Italy. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

A woman holds a snake, used to cover a wooden statue of Saint Domenico, during the St. Domenico procession in Cocullo, central Italy. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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San Domenico a Bendictine monk, lived during the 10th and 11th centuries. During his time he founded a number of hermitages and cloisters throughout Lazio and Abruzzo. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

San Domenico a Bendictine monk, lived during the 10th and 11th centuries. During his time he founded a number of hermitages and cloisters throughout Lazio and Abruzzo. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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A man holds a snake during the procession. San Domenico was renowned for his ability to cure those bitten by poisonous snakes. Snakes were common in the area and it was the cause of many deaths at the time. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

A man holds a snake during the procession. San Domenico was renowned for his ability to cure those bitten by poisonous snakes. Snakes were common in the area and it was the cause of many deaths at the time. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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The procession starts in the morning with the arrival of pilgrims from those places where the cult of the saint is especially felt, such as Lazio, Molise and Campania, who walk into the church of Cocullo, singing devotional hymns. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

The procession starts in the morning with the arrival of pilgrims from those places where the cult of the saint is especially felt, such as Lazio, Molise and Campania, who walk into the church of Cocullo, singing devotional hymns. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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About 100 snakes are used to adorn the statue and they are all nonvenomous. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

About 100 snakes are used to adorn the statue and they are all nonvenomous. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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The most common snake is the cervone (Elaphe quatuorlineata), which measures at 2.5 m (8.2 feet) and is the longest snake in Italy. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

The most common snake is the cervone (Elaphe quatuorlineata), which measures at 2.5 m (8.2 feet) and is the longest snake in Italy. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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San Domenico is perceived as a character who determines salvation not only from snakes, from the bites of poisonous or rabid animals, but also a universal salvation against the ills of the world. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

San Domenico is perceived as a character who determines salvation not only from snakes, from the bites of poisonous or rabid animals, but also a universal salvation against the ills of the world. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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A woman holds a snake, used to cover a wooden statue of Saint Domenico, during the procession in Cocullo. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

A woman holds a snake, used to cover a wooden statue of Saint Domenico, during the procession in Cocullo. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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The procession is led by the priests and selected women carrying the ciambelli, which is bread that is designed to represent a snake biting its own tail. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)
Updated on May 02, 2017 11:40 AM IST

The procession is led by the priests and selected women carrying the ciambelli, which is bread that is designed to represent a snake biting its own tail. (Tony Gentile / Reuters)

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