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Traditions
31 March 2024

The Dance of the Devils in Prizzi

Overview

The ancient battle between Good and Evil, between spring rebirth and the cold winter: this is the origin of the Dance of the Devils for which the small town of Prizzi, in the province of Palermo, is world famous. Christianity has interpreted the ancient ritual as a struggle between Death and Life, with the triumph of the latter emphasised by the resurrection of Christ.

On Easter Sunday, in Prizzi, Death, in a yellow dress and armed with a crossbow, walks around the crowd and, aided by Devils dressed in red, chooses victims to lead to hell. To redeem their souls, these people have to pay a small offering of money!

Amid the shouts and cheering, the statue of the Madonna comes forward, dressed in mourning, trying to embrace the risen Christ. The Devils’ Ball is the attempt of the forces of evil to prevent this embrace. Evil seems to get the better of them twice, until, on the third attempt, they are struck down and killed by the Angels. As the bells ring out in celebration, the Madonna, now wearing her heavenly robe, reaches out to her Son: this is the victory of Good over Evil.

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Prizzi

90038 Prizzi PA, Italia

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