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HISTORY OF SNAKE FLUTE
The flute belongs to the family of the woodwing group. Aside from the voice, flutes are the earliest known musical instruments. The oldest flutes found, are thousands of years old and made of bones. These flutes were used during hunting and in magic rituals. Later on flutes are found which were made of wood or bamboo. All flutes used to have only holes. You could hold a flute to the left or right side and there were even flutes you could hold straight like a recorder. Until the middle ages flutes were played by hunters, shepherds, musicians in festive occasions and from the 13th century on also by soldiers.
Snake charming is the practice of pretending to hypnotize a snake by playing an instrument called pungi or snake flute . A typical performance may also include handling the snakes or performing other seemingly dangerous acts, as well as other street performancestaples, like juggling and sleight of hand. The practice is most common in India, though other Asian nations such as Pakistan,Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia are also home to performers .
One of the earliest records of snake charming appears in the Bible in Psalm 58:3–5: “The wicked turn aside from birth; liars go astray as soon as they are born. Their venom is like that of a snake, like a deaf serpent that does not hear, that does not respond to the magicians, or to a skilled snake-charmer.”
Snake charming as it exists today originated in India. Hinduism has long held serpents to be sacred; the animals are believed to be related to the Nagas, and many gods are pictured under the protection of the cobra. Indians thus considered snake charmers to be holy men who were influenced by the gods.
Snake charmers typically walk the streets holding their serpents in baskets or pots hanging from a bamboo pole slung over the shoulder. Charmers cover these containers with cloths between performances. Dress in India, Pakistan and neighbouring countries is generally the same: long hair, a white turban, earrings, and necklaces of shells or beads. Once the performer finds a satisfactory location to set up, he sets his pots and baskets about him (often with the help of a team of assistants who may be his apprentices) and sits cross-legged on the ground in front of a closed pot or basket. He removes the lid, then begins playing a flute-like instrument made from a gourd, known as a been or pungi. As if drawn by the tune, a snake eventually emerges from the container; if a cobra, it may even extend its hood.
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