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If your dream is to… touch a snake without fear, then Kefalonia, Greece is the right place to be, especially during the Day of Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
In August, believers and thousands of tourists from around the world flock to the island to the feast of the Assumption to take part in an extraordinary religious event.
In a small village called Markopoulo, there is a church called Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. In the temple, you will see the icon, which shows the Virgin Mary with small snakes. For a long time, this image has been called Panagia Fedusa which means - Virgin of Snakes.
These creatures creep up to the bell tower on the eve of the Assumption. Warden and caretakers collected snakes and place them in caskets. In everyday life, these snakes are poisonous, but in the period before the Assumption they can be placed in the hands of everyone and do not sting. The caretakers of the church carry them to the people to touch, lay on the chest or head.
The legend says that long ago when in the place of the bell tower there was a church, the nuns were attacked by pirates. Women begged the Virgin, asking for protection. When the pirates broke into the monastery, instead of the nuns they found ominously hissing snakes, which horrified threw the villains and forced them to retire.