The Tataratà Festival in Casteltermini

The Feast of the Holy Cross in Casteltermini precedes the foundation of the village itself. According to the legend a cow every day would go away from the grazing herd, kneeling motionless on the same place; intrigued, the herdsman went to dig right there, where he found a wooden cross, which, despite repeated attempts, could not be removed; the inhabitants of the nearby farms decided to build a small church on the site of the discovery and to keep the prodigious cross there. Since then, the recurrence of the discovery was celebrated with a country festival, but after the foundation of Casteltermini (1629) it was considered appropriate to involve all social classes in the celebrations, and to bring the cross from the church, where it is still kept, to the centre of the village, with a solemn procession and an impressive horseride. The festival ends on the fourth Sunday of May, after its beginning on the previous Friday, and sees the parade of young people in vintage costumes representing the various social classes. It is followed by spectacular horserides, and the performance of Tataratà, a riveting, acrobatic dance of duelling swords, accompanied only by the sound of beating drums. The Tataratà is attested for the first time in an act of 1685, but many scholars connect it to the Arab dperiod or hypothesize a connection with the ancient rites linked to fertility and harvest.