The Dance of the Devils in Prizzi


Carmelo Giuseppe Colletti - CC3.0

The Ballo dei Diavoli in Prizzi is a traditional festival, on the border between the sacred and the profane, which takes place every year in Prizzi on Easter Sunday.
The protagonists of this event, whose origins date back to 1770, are Death and two devils: Death wears a yellow dress, a leather mask with an infernal grin, and holds a crossbow; the devils wear a red dress, a large red mask with two horns and thick hair, one white and the other black. Death always walks flanked by the two devils and it is she who chooses the victim from the public to take to hell. Having captured their victim, the two devils accompany her to a house where they are offered the possibility of redeeming their soul by paying a cash offer.
During the whole day, without stopping, Death and the two Devils harass and imprison anyone they meet along their path.
Death and the two Devils, however, have another important purpose on this day: to prevent u Ncontru, or the meeting, between the Madonna and the Risen Christ. To do this, they begin to jump and run between the two statues, in a succession of precise movements that give life to the Dance of the Devils. They will succeed in their intent twice but, on the third attempt, they are hit and killed by the Angels. This is how the meeting between the Madonna and Christ takes place accompanied by the sound of the festive bells.

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