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A Festa ri’ Morti in Sicilia

November 2, 2017

November 2nd is the day in which Italians remember all who are deceased.  However, over the years, the tradition  has not been the same in Sicily as in the rest of Italy.  In Italy, November 2nd is La Commemorazione dei Defunti, Commemoration of the Deceased. In Sicily November 2nd is the Feast of the Dead, A Festa ri Morti.

In the Sicilian tradition, the Feast of the Dead has been the day in which deceased family members return to bring gifts to the children in the family.  On the night of November 1st,  children would place baskets under their beds before going to bed.  The children believed that during the night the deceased family members would come to their home and leave gifts for them.  The gifts as toys were hidden around the house so on the morning of November 2nd the children would search for the gifts in a treasure hunt.

The baskets that had been placed under the beds on the night of November 1st were found in the morning filled with the traditional sweets. The children believed their loved ones who had passed on had come during the night and left all those goods for them. Then, on November 2nd, the tradition was for the children to join their parents in visiting the graves of the relatives who had brought them the gifts to thank them. It is clear that although many families carry out the traditional practices some of the true essence of the festivity has gone lost.

The traditional sweets of the Feast of the Dead in Sicily were i pupifigurines made of a mixture of water and sugar, pasta martorana, marzipan made into the shape and colors of a variety of fruits and nuts, and the cookies known as crozza ri morti, bones of the dead, a sugar biscuit with a white topping.

Photo below shows traditional marzipan representing chestnuts, both raw and roasted

Marzipan chestnuts

Marzipan fruit representing figs, strawberries, apricots, a tomato and prickly pears

Marzipan fruit 1


Marzipan lemons, strawberries and figs

marzipan fruit 2

More marzipan

Marzipan fruit 3

Crozza ri morti – ossa di morti

Ossa de' morti

  1. I love your posts, Rosanna!! ❤️

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