The Real Tarantella

“So many people do the Tarantella WRONG at their weddings. The way Italians do it, and everyone knows the Italians do it best because Italians know how to throw a good party, is by putting the bride and groom in the center of the dance floor while everyone holds hands and makes circles around them that get larger and larger. Usually it’s the couple’s parents that make up the first circle. The wedding party makes up the second. Then the rest of the guests make up the rest. The first circle spins clockwise, the second counterclockwise, the third clockwise, and so on. Eventually, the dj or mc will tell everyone to switch directions, and the circles will start spinning in the opposite directions they were originally. They’re so much fun. And if you somehow don’t get in on it when the Tarantella starts, you’re hosed, there’s not getting in because it all just becomes this amazing mess of people that you just can’t get through.”

The informant has never attended a non-Italian wedding, as her entire extended family is Italian. Because her family is so large, she is constantly attending weddings, so she has become quite familiar with many typical Italian wedding traditions. For her, the Tarantella is celebratory and “builds community,” as everyone is holding hands, joining to rejoice in the couple’s newfound happiness. The informant has many happy memories dancing the Tarantella from the time she was an infant. She claims they are just as fun now as they have ever been.