Snakehanding belongs to a wider religious phenomena which involves taking high risks in the framework of religion.
Exists mostly in the United States, particularly in the Appalachian mountains.
While extreme, snakehandling is part of a more bodily, ecstatic form of religion. This type of religiosity tends to be more associated with the less economically well-of classes. In the west, physical and emotional expressions are often seen as crude, and upper-class religiosity is generally more intellectual and focused on dogma.