Origin of saint vitus' dance
St. Vitus, 3d century Christian child martyr
First Known Use: 1621
Biographical Note for saint vitus' dance
Vitus, Saint (died circa 300), Italian martyr. Saint Vitus is believed by some to have lived during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. According to legend, while still a child he delivered the emperor's daughter of an evil spirit. Because he was a Christian, however, he was subjected to various tortures, including being thrown into a cauldron filled with pitch and molten lead. He survived the torture intact, but he and his Christian nurse were ultimately put to death. People suffering from chorea have traditionally invoked his name for relief.
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