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February 21 @ 6:36 PM
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U Ballu di Diavuli, Easter in Prizzi
9 April 2023
Prizzi’s Ballo dei Diavoli is a spectacular celebration between the sacred and the profane and warms the souls of the people with ancient rites. The festival is undoubtedly one of the most characteristic representations of Easter in Sicily and has made the small town in the province of Palermo famous throughout the world.
Between Devils and Death
On Easter Sunday, in Prizzi, you have to be careful of Death! You will recognize her from the yellow dress, the grin printed on the mask and the crossbow; it is she who chooses the victims from the public that she will lead to hell.
Once caught, the victims will be escorted by the Devils to a house. Here they have only one chance to redeem their soul: they will have to pay a donation, a small offer of money!
Unlike Death, Devils dress in red overalls and wear a large mask. Rubbing elbows with Death, they will spend their day harassing and imprisoning people.
The meeting between the Madonna and the risen Christ and the Dance of the Devils
Devils and Death are not watching even when the simulacrum of the Madonna is preparing to embrace again that of the risen Christ. The forces of Evil will try to prevent ‘u Ncontru con lu Ballu di li Diavoli proper.
The Devils will manage to prevent the meeting between Mary and the risen Jesus twice, but on the third attempt they will be shot and killed by the Angels while the bells are ringing!
The Madonna then loses her mournful black cloak showing the celestial dress and reaffirming the victory of Good over Evil.
The Devils, defeated, will carry out the rite of purification from sin with the gesture of pigliari ‘a paci, bending down three times in front of the two statues.
The origins of u Ballu di Diavuli
In the spectacular Ballo dei Diavoli faith and folklore merge, becoming the battlefield between opposites: Christianity and paganism, spring and winter, life and death. It is not difficult to trace echoes of pagan events that in ancient times celebrated Spring and the rebirth of nature. Over time, the rite has been influenced by popular traditions that have absorbed elements of Greek tragedies; the Christian interpretation was grafted onto these, transforming the rite into a struggle between Evil and Good with the triumph of the latter underlined by the resurrection of the risen Christ.
During the festival, the cannatedde, a typical sweet made from shortcrust pastry and hard-boiled egg, are distributed.
Text and photos from the web