Tataratà: Say It and You’ll Understand


This past Sunday, the town Casteltermini held the Festa di Santa Croce e Sagra del Tataratà. Experience Sicily’s Filippo Buttitta went to see this antique feast and took some magnificent photos which I’ll share over the next few days. Annually held on the fourth Sunday of May, the medieval feast features, among other traditions, citizens of the town re-enacting a spectacular sword dance performed in a combat style utilized by Arabs, who occupied Sicily from approximately 827 A.D. to 1091 A.D. Young men create a series of choreographed combat scenes performed to a ritualistic beat of drums, hence the name of the Feast: Tataratà. The swordsmen, who use real iron swords, hop around and dodge each other in pairs, circles, and line formations. There are many theories about how and why the Tataratà manifested itself–does it represent a battle between Muslims and Christians? Or might it be a representation of the two groups coexisting peacefully under Norman rule, post 1091? I want to find out from townspeople myself! You can too, because in May next year for the Myths & Mysteries of Sicily Tour, we’ll be experiencing Casteltermini’s feast first hand.

Won’t you join me?

(Photo Credit: Experience Sicily’s Filippo Buttitta)

2 Comments Add yours

  1. How interesting! That is quite a photo – trying to untangle all the arms and legs! 🙂 I love the word tataratá (accent should be a grave – sorry!). In drum playing – well, you probably know this – a pattern is called a tattoo. The words must be related! That trip next year should be fabulous. Maybe… <3

    1. I didn’t know about the term “tattoo.” That’s neat Dana! Yes, let’s keep our fingers crossed for you! xoxo

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