Dance of the doll (Il ballo della pupa)
Dancing, fireworks, music all together for an enthralling show that is a must
The female doll or pupa, is made from papier-mache and a multitude of fireworks. A man is concealed inside the doll and dances to the rhythm of the folk music while the fireworks go off.
The dance of the doll is an ancient fertility ritual for the land. Fire is the protagonist in the form of firework displays, as a purifying element, and the result of the firework explosions indicates how well the year will go.
Nowadays it is a highly entertaining and enthralling show that is held in numerous Abruzzo towns throughout the year and never fails to attract a large audience.
In Cappelle sul Tavo the Palio delle Pupe is held on 15th August every year, as the town districts battle it out on the streets, each one with their own pupa.
In the afternoon there is the parade through the decorated streets and the real contest in the evening, with lots of dancing and firework displays. The pupa opens the dancing to lively folk music, and the fireworks are gradually lit to reach a crescendo of explosions and colours at the final “blast”, which is usually a Catherine wheel on the doll’s head.