PASSION PLAY Sicilian town stages Dance of the Devils every Easter as morality tale, pay day for local kids
By Lori Rackl
It's Easter Sunday in the Sicilian town of Prizzi. Devils are dancing. Death is everywhere. "Death" actually is a big Italian guy in an even bigger yellow jumpsuit. He's wearing a macabre mask and toting a wooden crossbow.
His devil buddies are similarly decked out in red costumes with giant heads and Lucifer-like horns.
For centuries, these symbols of evil have spent Easter Sunday running up and down the medieval streets of Prizzi, randomly plucking people out of the crowd to dance with them and thereby "capture" their souls.
No chocolate bunnies or Easter eggs here. This is more like Halloween, and it's fascinating to watch.
Prizzi's Dance of the Devils is just one the many spectacles that engrosses Sicily during Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Seemingly every town on this uber-Catholic island has some kind of festival or procession in honor of Christ's final days on the planet. I had the chance to check out some of the best of these displays this time last year during my honeymoon in Sicily. Attending religious events isn't your typical honeymoon pastime, but my Sicilian-American husband and I couldn't resist working a couple of these Easter experiences into our itinerary.