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Tarantism

Many folklore events, which today are an opportunity to gather and have fun, have their origin in legends and folk traditions, guardians of local culture and identity.

A widely known cultural phenomenon, which has fascinated and continues to fascinate people around the world, is undoubtedly tarantism. Legend has it that once lived in Puglia a poisonous spider, a sort of tarantula, whose bite caused a form of epileptic seizure. Usually the unfortunate were women who were bitten while working in the fields and in their state of hysteria they behaved as if they were spiders, pawing and writhing on the ground, climbing on walls and cornices, jumping and running back and forth. A disturbing moment that gathered crowds of onlookers and way different from the joy and enthusiasm it inspires today. The tarantulees were in fact women affected by an "evil" from which it was only possible to heal through music and dance therapy accompanied by tambourines and violins that went on for hours and hours and sometimes even days until they could find the rhythm and melody adapted to cancel the effects of the poison. It was however a temporary healing, as each year at the same period of the first bite, the women had a relapse.

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