Lords, Swords, and Ladies

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Annually on the fourth Sunday of May, the town of Casteltermini holds the Festa di Santa Croce e Sagra del Tataratà. During the feast, which dates back to medieval times, one of the traditions is a reenactment of a combat style utilized by the Arabs, who occupied Sicily from approximately 827 A.D. to 1091 A.D. Today, men create a series of choreographed combat scenes performed to a ritualistic beat of drums, hence the name of the Feast: Tataratà. (Say it out loud, and you’ll understand immediately!) The swordsmen, who use real iron swords, hop around and dodge each other in pairs, circles, and line formations.

 

(Photo Credit: Experience Sicily’s Filippo Buttitta)

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