RU  UK  EN
Статьи  >  Imagine  >  Serpent Charmers: How to make a snake dance?

Serpent Charmers: How to make a snake dance?

Автор: 22.04.2021 | art, India, culture
Magic dance of a snake in time with flute’s melody often described in Eastern fairy tales and depicted in movies is no fiction but a true symbol of those countries. In Egypt, India, African countries and some other states slithering tribe are tamed to make a spectacular entertainment out of it. Profession of reptile charmers exists there; it is believed to be as nearly as the most amazing on Earth.

What does this mysterious trade represent, its experts teetering on the brink between life and death?

Serpent charmers, also known as fakirs or Bede are one of the symbols of India with its distinctive and colorful nature. However this profession emerged as far back as in ancient Egypt. In our times it is considered vanishing: number of present-day experts hardly accounts for a million people. Given that once their trade used to be iconic practice…

Due to peculiarities of climate in hot countries, a great lot of reptile species dwell there. One can come across them as nearly as on every step and they can even slither inside houses. Therefore since olden times snake charmers have been respected and necessary experts. People have turned to them, for instance, to spare their dwellings dangerous guests. With time trade of “taming creepers” developed into a spectacular art. So, nowadays exotic-thirsty tourists are ready to pay generously for this kind of performances.Photo staticflickr.com

Fakirs pass traditions of their art from generation to generation. In India, for one, entire villages of hereditary Bede exist like, say, Seperagon settlement. There they used to keep about 5 snakes in every family. And only recently a law gained force in India on wild life protection that forbids keeping this species in captivity. Therefore fakirs hit a rough patch. But it is for good in part because “art of snakes control” has nothing to do with neither education training, nor mysticism. At times cruelty to animals and dirty tricks lie in its heart.

In the village Hadaitala (located hundred kilometers away from Calcutta) Conference of Snake Charmers is held annually. This way they honor Hindu goddess, tutelary of snakes – Manasa. Unusual routines are in the program: snakes winding around bodies of fakirs, squeezing out and swallowing of venom off of a snake’s tongue and, sure enough, traditional moves to the sounds of flute.

Dance of a snake is no art – more like training, and occasionally a fairly cruel one. Several methods to make a snake meander in time with music exist.

Read also: South Goa with the eyes of Kira Kondratenko

A snake charmerer can train an animal by beating it with a flute. He catches a snake, puts it into a wicker basket that becomes its eternal prison. During trainings he hits the container and opens its lid, the snake, hyped-up and rattled by the sounds of the instrument, slithers out hoping to break free but gets a hit on its head instead. And so it goes with its every move. Ultimately: during a show poor creature simply tries to avoid a flute in fakir’s hands.

Experienced charmers can create illusion of a dance of a reptile even with freshly caught snake. Most skillful Bede demonstrate it upon pulling them to the public eye directly from their holes. The secret here is in knowledge of peculiarities of their character and physiology as well as agility and attention of a charmer. Snakes have almost no hearing by nature so the music itself has no impact whatsoever. Instead they are gifted with a special sensitivity of skin – it perceives air vibrations for reptiles to be able to protect themselves should anyone be approaching them. Those are created by, for instance, footsteps. Thus sounds of a flute excite snakes by creating similar vibrations. At that during a performance a snake follows fakir’s hand. And this is what his talent is about – hyped-up with the sounds of flute, the snake is ready to protect itself, but movements of a skillful fakir’s hand make a snake lose concentration and perplex it – thus, getting ready for an attack, an animal watches rhythmic movements cautiously. This monotony tires the animal down and ultimately drives it to a state of drowse.Snake-Charmers-Jaipur.jpg
Photo travelphotospirit.com

But most importantly and scary – “delete” a snake’s venom. This can be achieved by several means: pulling snake’s fangs out or before a show they make a snake bite fabric – thus its venomous bags get empty. It is a long and exhausting affair – both for the snake and the fakir, however it produces only temporary effect – soon bags get filled with new venom.

So the cruelest ones go further – and sew a snake’s mouth up with the help of an ordinary needle and a thread. As a result, nobody sees threads, a snake can stick out its tongue but it cannot bite – perfect for a perfect performance. But it results in a snake starving to death. In order to secure themselves, charmers restore to other gimmicks. They get vaccinated – this however doesn’t give a hundred per cent guarantee. They also anoint their bodies with snake fat thus acquiring a special serpentine smell to be perceived by snakes like the ones of their own.

Most famous representative of the profession was Sheik Mussa from Luxor – he became a true legend of our times. Mussa is famous for striking tricks. For instance, cobras that he “charmed” would approach him gradually and put their heads in his palm humbly. Then he would put them inside a circle in the sand and animals would stay there until Sheik permitted them to leave it. But, ironically, despite his amazing skills, Mussa ultimately died of a bite of one of those reptiles…

Cover photo fr.wikipedia.org

Вам это будет интересно:
Jaipur. Pink city
Someone compares Jaipur with lace tablecloth; others with a box of pink marshmallows; and some admirers claim this is a hive densely inhabited by bees. However, everyone agrees on one thing: there is the wonderful air full of freedom which cannot be found in Europe. It fills the lungs and breathing it a traveller loses count of hours and even centuries.
Kamasan: Village of masterpieces in Bali
Bali is one of the most popular places to spend winter. Ocean, volcanoes, amazing nature and exotic fruits... But there is also one more reason that not many people know of, yet it definitely deserves attention: Kamasan, a unique art village where namesake Balinese picture art was conceived – as ancient as the island itself. We are going to tell about it today on the pages of the OUTLOOK.
Yodel - Music of the Austrian mountains
Austrian tour operators launched an unusual touristic tourdesigned for fans of singing style called yodel. Hikers wander through the Ziller Valley, a broad trail narrows opening the way for only the most avid travellers, then track leads upwards. Tourists look into the interactive station shaped as a giantsonorous walk-in cowbell, then they go around thelargest alpine horn and head to place...
Glass Handmade
Exclusive glass vases and Christmas tree decorations that only exist in one or two samples, aside from high price, most often also have in common unique production technology that is mastered by representatives of a rare profession – glass-blower. The history of the craft has lasted for a couple of millennia with some old secrets of handmade production still kept under seal.
Indian village Kodhini: the unraveled mystery of twins
In the world there is an unusual place where the biggest number of twins are born. Although at first glance it looks like a mystical coincidence, statistics makes you believe in miracles. The Indian state of Kerala can boast of a village where unusual things happen. Kodhini is the place with more twins than anywhere else in the world. Actually, there is almost no explanation for this.
Handicraft: persian carpets
In those days when the Persian soldiers were second to none, and both the Roman Empire and the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by their power, skilful fingers of winner nation craftswomen created their first masterpiece. The carpet called The Springtime passed into history as the most precious of all time. It symbolized powerful rule of the Persians, and its beauty told about the divine origin of the king Khosrow I.
Don’t break the tongue: The hardest languages in the world
It is said, the easier it is, the better we feel, however, is it always like that? We know that not all the nations follow this principle. OUTLOOK has found out the strangest, toughest and hard in articulation international languages and would like to share it with the readers.
A jewelry approach to perfection
Behind the window sad eyes of old man peered at Petrograd engulfed by revolutionary fire. This fire spread on his life's work: a proud four-story building was invaded by noisy commissioners and sailors, whose presence seemed a cruel joke after regular customers. Workshop owner Carl Gustavovich Fabergé, apparently, noticed in this chaos approaching decay of his career. However, he could have a secret gleam of hope for another life of his heritage.
All the big things start with the small ones: Art-projects of enthusiasts
Many places, famous around the globe today, were created by a bunch of enthusiasts without money or outside help. These people lived for their ideas and were doing everything to turn them into reality. Official date of street art appearance is believed to be year 1942, fervor of World War II.
Borders cannot make harm: The most famous enclaves of the world
Today OUTLOOK travels along the cities and countries that are considered as the most interesting from the point of view of geography and administrative management. Moreover, they are enclaves as they are located within the territories of other states.
Shadows in Paradise: The way modern art surprises the Lovers of the unconventional
A borderline between the shadow and the light is just as contrasting as the one between the dream and the reality. Therefore artists use both things in pursuit of balance on a painting. Landscapes, portraits and still-life… nothing ever goes without the clash of the opposites. However there are particularly crafty artisans who do not need light at all.
Kabuki: thorny path of flower
Traditional Japanese kabuki theatre has always been a mystery to the European mentality: only an expert on the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun can understand a play without guide’s tips. The word kabuki is sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing". Why not an operetta? The essence of performance is not confined to musical presentation only...
Art of Patrick Cabral: paper as a symbol of fragility of our world
Independent artist originally from the Philippines, Patrick Cabral conquers the world with his unusual artwork. His creations are an innovation that combines the age-old traditions of calligraphy and cutting-edge 3D technologies. His art is a way to change the world for the better, both through aesthetics and through the fulfillment of a social mission.
Rice fields: Grains of unbelievable beauty
- Do you want to try some rice? - such a question is greeted by guests in China. And if the owners are also farmers, they can invite you on an unusual excursion and show you the masterpiece of natural art. The grass which we often eat without thinking about its aesthetics, at the time of growing resembles a blanket woven from multi-colored rags ...
Chinese sugar painting: Art from a ladle
Flowers and trees, animals and birds, dragons and fairytale characters – to put it short, anything that may come to your head can turn into an object of edible art there. Amazing technique of painting with hot sugar is possessed by craftsmen from Sichuan province. Paintings performed in almost caramel can be neither “edited”, nor painted over.
Women's adornments in India: Sacred meaning
Upon hearing word combination “Hindu woman” an image of a beautiful woman wearing sari and definitely with numerous adornments and pictures on her body emerges in our imagination. Where does passion for body decoration come from in national traditions of this people?
Tasty Japan: Give the country a try
Ice cream with a taste of horse meat, pickled insects, fish with deadly venom, etc – Japanese cuisine has things to surprise, amaze and shock you with. And truth be told, enumeration of these dishes doesn’t help my appetite at all. But we are not after exotic stuff. True culinary tourism is an attempt to comprehend mindset and feel national distinctive color through traditional cuisine – not try most exotic dishes.
Fado: Gentleness and deftness of Portuguese romances
Twelve-string guitar, the twilight of Portuguese nights, candles, and soul-gripping voice… Dramatic incentives of fado song tell about unrequited love. It cannot appear in the crossroads of destinies; however, it enables feelings to embody into the touching sounds of Portuguese romances.
The Sistine Chapel Illusions
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple.
Step over threshold: The magical art of the huichol
Dazzling flashes of ancient knowledge manifested in colourful shimmering beads and in elaborated yarn mosaics by Huichol Indians, captivate the imagination calling for an endless journey through branches of the world tree. Spiritual images take on flesh in intricate ornaments that accompany a Mexican peasant throughout his life.
Закрыть
Outlook facebook page