The cutting of the tornadoes, denominated in Sicilian dialect dracunara (because they are associated with the evil work of an evil demon, hence the name referring to the “dragon’s tail”), is a superstitious, traditional phenomenal, quite widespread in Sicily. According to this secret ritual, some fishermen have the ability and the power to “cut” tornadoes, saving fishing boats from danger if they come across tornadoes.

According to tradition, the cutters of tornadoes are acquainted with a particular prayer, different in various areas of Sicily, which they recite on the bow of the boat (or positioned on a hill) to save the boat from the storm. In case you come across a whirlwind, the cutters make the sign of the cross, recite the prayer to appease the demon responsible for the whirlwind (in some cases this particular prayer is known, in fact, as “our green father ”, To differentiate it from the canonical Our Father), and then with a scythe or a very sharp knife they cut the whirlwind. It is only at this point that the tornado cutters can recite the true prayer of thanks to the divinity. Once this ritual is put in place, the tornado calms down and the fishing boat returns safe and sound to the port.

Precisely in reference to this tradition, many fishermen usually keep a scythe on board as a superstitious object and some fishing boats always list a sailor with this mysterious and ancient knowledge in their crew, in case they find themselves in an emergency condition.

Fragale L. I., Sul ‘taglio’ delle trombe d’aria: ricognizione storico -geografica intorno a un rituale di mare, in «Lares. Quadrimestrale di studi demoetnoantropologici», 2016, a. 82, n. 1, pp. 25-40
Pitrè G., Usi e costumi, credenze e pregiudizi del popolo siciliano, vol. III, Biblioteca delle tradizioni popolari siciliane, vol. XVI, L. Pedone Lauriel, Palermo, 1889
REIMAR website
REIMAR website