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:
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.
Boat instead of shopping basket: Famous floating markets
Stores, shopping malls, markets - all these places are an integral part of daily goings-on of almost every person on our planet. It would seem there is nothing special about them: they are all alike, just goods and prices vary depending on country or city. In fact, it is not quite true since some markets are only accessible via waterways. Our today’s story is about them.
Art of Tattoo: Mesmerizing Magic of On-body Drawings
Coin jar of history of this art accounts for about 6 thousand years. Notably, this currently popular trade owes its emergence to happenstance... A prehistoric man once noticed that after any natural colorant had gotten into a place of a burn or a cut, very lasting drawings stayed on skin.
Made In Sweden: Dalecarlian Horse
And since winged horses of Valkyries darted away to Valhalla forever, Dalecarlian horse has remained the guardian of Vikings’ traditions – painted folk toy, first mentioned in chronicles of 17th century. Dalecarlian horse serves as an amulet of non-touristic Sweden by saving from oblivion ancient fables and beliefs.
Accompaying persons, please leave the train: the most interesting trains on planet
Despite ongoing development of air transport, many people across the Earth still love to travel by train for various reasons. Though the majority of passengers associate trains with a rather slow way to travel compared with airplanes, and are concerned with low comfort which can be still at the level of last century, reading through our selection below...
South Goa with the eyes of Kira Kondratenko
Depression and lack of new ideas? Head to Goa! It was the rest in Goa that helped business lady Kira Kondratenko build up energy and ideas for the implementation of an interesting project once. Today she shares with us her impressions of the island while calling it nothing short of Heaven on Earth.
Bregenz. To the Theatre in a Tuxedo And on a Catamaran
Especially for those who believe theater and opera music to be vestige of the past, we tell about an amazing Austrian theater where traditional art meets technical and engineering novelties and also a great view of the Alps.
Life on water: 7 little-known Venice competitors
When we hear about "water city", Venice immediately comes to mind, doesn’t it? Tranquil gondolas, narrow waterways, gentle light of the evening sun and ancient architecture create that heady romantic cocktail which attracts tourists from all over the world to the Italian city.
Murals: New Approach to Olden Art
Modern cities cannot be imagined without murals – large-scale in size works of picture art that decorate buildings. Not only we have gathered most outstanding works in our collection but also tried to learn as many interesting things as possible about this art movement.
Kintsugi. Japanese art of restoration
The Japanese are one of those peoples who zealously respect the ancient traditions. They respect old age, being interested in ancestors and often know the family ancestry by heart. With such a worldview, it is not surprising that a unique technique for the restoration of kintsugi appeared exactly there. Read about it in OUTLOOK.
Jaipur. Pink city. Part 2
Jaipur is always invaded by hordes of tourists. The city is included into the most of India travel guides. There are enough hotels, many street diners and comfortable cafes, no problem with the choice of transport. The local people are friendly and helpful to visitors. If this impulse is encouraged with a few rupees, the Indians will be happy to share information...
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.
Flamenco: guitar crying and fierce stomping
What most people know about flamenco, is that this dance is manifestation of neither love and affection, nor entertainment and revelry fun. Fiery expressive flamenco is reflection of suffering and pain of an individual within nation, always persecuted and deprived of home. The dance itself, which has become a global symbol of Spain, is not only its national heritage...
National drinks: Zero degrees and lots of energy
Everyone knows that being in Scotland you should try whiskey, in France you should taste wine, and in Japan t is all about sake. But few people think about national soft drinks. They were created by peoples with far more practical intentions - refreshing and burning, repelling from the climate features, possessing nourishing properties.
Kolkata: City of great thinkers and vagabonds
Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is a distinctive city since it supplied the world with as much as three Indian Nobel Prize winners, and is regarded as India’s intellectual and cultural capital. But, at the same time, most people brush their teeth, do laundry and cook right in the streets, and many famous travellers who have visited the city, refer to it as the worst one they had ever seen. So, what is closer to the truth?
Azulejo: Story of tiles
You often got convinced that skilful hands of a master who puts life into his creation, can transform humble tree stump into a charming violin, piece of plaster becomes an ancient sculpture, and even clay tile looks like a work of fine art.
Twelve guises of South Korea
Only dancing and wearing mask, Korean peasants were able to express their disgust towards rudeness or greed of the hosts or apply to some deity with extraordinary request. Keeping anonymity, the people played out the scenes from life, cried, and laughed. At the end of the performance the destiny awarded the good characters and punished villains.
Tajik сombs of beauty
When Bahriddin’s mother was getting ready for work, she was assiduously arranging her hair around her tubeteika. It resulted in some sort of a crown. On holidays she plaited special adornments into her black hair with a tinge of blue. When she walked, they were tinkling slightly to create an aura of a dance. And in evenings little Bahriddin couldn’t fall asleep without holding her tight braid in his hands.
Belgian lace: Waltz of a thousand threads
At the sight of Flemish lacework it is hard to shake the feeling that miraculous flowers, artfully braided into a wreath of a pattern, were born from loose sparks that had escaped a magic wand. On the inside of the beauty there are efforts and days of jetsam girls, stolen from life by labyrinth of openwork loops.
Everything on sale: Worlds's best markets and bazaars
In this day and age, it is difficult to surprise anyone, especially an urban resident, with some large department store or market, since nowadays one can buy everything from a humble convenience store next door. However, the iconic bazaars and flea markets are still operating across the globe, they are famous in legends and described with delight.
Закрыть
Outlook facebook page