La maschia potenza. Pratiche ergologiche e coreutica rituale nella civiltà contadina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


On the occasion of various religious celebrations that mark the Sicilian ceremonial calendar, especially during Holy Week and some patronal feasts, it is possible to observe very peculiar modes of transport of the processional fercoli (vare). The holy simulacra, in fact, in such circumstances, are made to run and dance both on the streets of inhabited centers and, in rare cases, inside religious buildings. The disorder that characterizes these dance performances is only apparent. In reality, they obey a precise kinetic code: the fercoli are rhythmically raised and lowered on the arms by the bearers, they rotate repeatedly on themselves, ideally pivoting on the statue of the Saint, they advance at times in fast gear or running, always accompanied by pressing music. . Although one of the purposes of the ritual action is to individually show off their masculine power, the desire of individual bearers to excel over their companions cannot and must not exceed certain limits, since the ultimate goal of the exhibition is to "win" over those who carry the antagonistic fercoli. therefore it is necessary that among the young bearers of a single vara there is maximum coordination and that they are able to move as a "single body", like a crew in vogue or a host in battle. This reveals the functional and sibolic relationship between ergological activities, "profane" orchestral exercises, collective dances performed in cultural contexts and preparation for war activities
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationIn viaggio verso le stelle. Storie di miti, culti ed eroi. Scritti in onore di Paolo Scarpi per il suo settantesimo compleanno
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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