A Few Sicily Traditions

Practically all Sicily traditions revolve around or are in same way related to the church. Superstitions and celebrations are as much a part of the Sicily culture as are language, cuisine and art. Most Sicilians are devout Roman Catholics and very superstitious.

Most Sicilians view Friday the 13th as a very unlucky day. It is believed that Christ was crucified on a Friday. On Friday, October 13, 1307, the Pope, in conjunction with the King of France, issued a secret death warrant for the Knights Templar, who for 200 years had protected pilgrims making their way to the Holy Land.

Other Sicily traditions that are of a superstitious nature include these. If you enter someone’s home through one door, you should also leave through that same door. Otherwise, it’s bad luck. The origin of this tradition is unknown.

Sicilians say that if you want to sell your house, you should bury a plastic statuette of St. Joseph, upside down in the front yard. Preferably under the “For Sale” sign. You should never give pearls as a gift. They should only be inherited.

Going to the church and lighting a candle is a big part of Sicily culture. Prayers are always said for the sick and the dying, as well as the dead. Even though Catholicism is the major religion today, there are still remnants of the old “pagan” religion. The Trinacria, a symbol that is seen on many buildings and now graces the official Sicilian banner, is a symbol that was originally put on Pagan temples, to scare off invading armies.

In Sicily culture, children are very important and naming a child is an occasion for feasting. Traditionally, children are named after their grandparents, with names chosen first from the father’s side of the family and then from the mother’s.

Feasts are a big part of most Sicilian traditions and holidays, with good reason. Sicilian food is plentiful and delicious. Pastries, seafood, tomatoes, artichokes, olives, apricots and all varieties of fruits and vegetables grow well on the island. There are many noted wines that originate from Sicily. Wine accompanies most meals and celebrations.

Carnivals are a famous part of Sicily culture. Floats are large and decorative. Booths line the city squares during carnival. Fireworks are popular and food is everywhere. Other than the religious festivals of Easter, Christmas and other holidays, carnivals are considered the most important events of the year.

There are many other Sicily traditions. That was just a taste of what being Sicilian is like.

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