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Halloween in Sicily?

October 31, 2018

Last year, on November 2nd, I wrote about A Festa ri’ Morti, Celebration of the Dead, the holiday held on November 2nd in Sicily to remember loved ones who have passed on.  To learn about the Sicilian celebration “A Festa ri’ Morti” you can read the post  found on this blog in the November 2017 archives.

Today is October 31st and all around us here in Sicily are signs of a celebration which is not a traditional one of Sicily.  Today, in Sicily, Halloween is being celebrated.   In Sicily, Halloween has only existed  for about a decade and it is certainly not a traditional celebration of the Sicilian culture.

Why are Sicilians celebrating Halloween?  Mass media have certainly played a major role in this event.   Through mass media and social media, many customs not in the tradition of the land have been introduced. As Halloween has been approaching, it has been interesting to hear the comments of so many people around me here in Sicily.  The majority have expressed a dislike for celebrating Halloween stating that it is not a traditional practice in Sicily and many feel it is just artificial.  All around the shops one can see signs of Halloween, as in the photos pictured below.

Following is an excerpt from an article found at bbc.co.uk on the history of Halloween;

“Samhain (pronounced ‘sow’inn’) is a very important date in the Pagan calendar for it marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at Imbolc). It is also celebrated by non-Pagans who call this festival Halloween.  Samhain has been celebrated in Britain for centuries and has its origin in Pagan Celtic traditions. It was the time of year when the veils between this world and the Otherworld were believed to be at their thinnest: when the spirits of the dead could most readily mingle with the living once again. Later, when the festival was adopted by Christians, they celebrated it as All Hallows’ Eve, followed by All Saints Day, though it still retained elements of remembering and honouring the dead.”(bbc.co.uk)

Halloween and A Festa ri’ Morti may approach the same topic from different angles, but the point remains on who believes traditions are important in the culture itself where they belong.  The many Sicilians I have spoken to  who believe in keeping authentic cultural traditions alive  with their appropriate practices vote for “A Festa ri’ Morti” on November 2nd.  These folks do not appreciate celebrating Halloween because they know that the Halloween traditions are not part of the Sicilian cultural heritage.

One Comment
  1. Pamela permalink

    Hello Dear Rosanna! Lovely pictures and interesting post ,as always. How are you? Pamela

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