Naples

Superstitious Neapolitans use horns to ward off world's end

Sceptical but scared Naples fears words may bring bad luck

Superstitious Neapolitans use horns to ward off world's end

Naples, December 12 - Superstitious Neapolitans say that while they don't believe in end-of-world prophecies, they're still going to hedge their bets. Many in Naples, a city known for being superstitious, are sporting horns - a symbol to ward off bad luck - while avoiding any reference to the world's end as extra protection against invoking ill omens. The city, like many around the world, is sceptical, but still scared, about the prophecy from the Central American Mayan natives that the world will end on December 21, 2012. "It is not true, but I believe it," joked Peppino De Filippo, summing up the attitude of his city. Artist Lello Esposito also uses the horn symbol in his works to be included in an exhibition next March. His horns were also used by the Naples chamber of commerce at an event on Wednesday - the date being 12/12/12 - at 12:12 p.m., to counter the December 21 prophecy. Humour is the best way to defuse the nervousness around the date, said actor Patrizio Rispso of the television series Un Posto al Sole. "We might as well dramatize this, and then come out with renewed strength," he said. Naples awaits the end of the world with the fatalism that comes with living in the shadow of the great volcano Vesuvius that erupted and consumed the nearby city of Pompeii in 79AD. And for some, superstition can be good for business. One woman who was shopping for eel, traditionally a Christmas treat, said she didn't want to wait just in case in the world ended before she had her favourite dish. "The risk of not being able to eat it made me decide to prepare some a few days before," she said. City fashion house Ugo Cilento has even prepared a silk tie for the superstitious - it has a blue background and small motifs representing the sun of the Mayan calendar.

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