Easter Lamb: in Sicily, Italy, it is sweet, caloric and made of almond paste!

Eggs, rabbits…we already know what these symbols mean. Also the lamb is one of the most prominent symbols of Easter. In Christianity, it symbolizes purity and sacrifice, two qualities associated with Jesus Christ, who is referred to as the “Lamb of God” in the New Testament. Sicilians prepare a traditional Easter celebration with the help of a little lamb. Locally known as “agnelli pasquali” or “pecorelle di pasqua”, this sweet figurine is molded from marzipan and often filled with pistachio paste. One distinct characteristic of the Easter sweet is the…

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The eternal sleep of Rosalia Lombardo

Rosalia Lombardo was born on December 13, 1918 in Palermo, in Sicily region in Southern Italy. At the tender age of 2 she died due to a bacteria pneumonia. Her father, official Mario Lombardo, destroyed by pain, decided to contact Dr. Alfredo Salafia, a noted embalmer, to undertake the task of preserving her beloved daughter. Salafia was a great expert in post-mortem conservation, and it seems that he carried out the embalming of little Rosalia free of charge. The little girl was embalmed and was one of the last corpses…

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#March 30, 1282: when Sicilian’s bells rang out for freedom

On this day, March 30, 1282 Sicilians decided that they had had enough and in a brutal uprising known as the War of the Vespers turned on their oppressors: the result was a conflict lasting 20 years and a balance of power shift that went on for 400 years. French King Charles I invaded the Italian island of Sicily in 1266 and through conquest became the King of Sicily. As a result, the French imposed a rule of iron with high taxes and the Sicilian population were constantly insulted and…

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The beautiful letter of 1973 from an illiterate woman to a distant husband

Being far from the people you love is one of the most difficult experiences in life, even with today’s trans-continental video-calls, skype and similar, all solutions cheap and easy. So one can only imagine how hard it was for our ancestors not so long ago, when international phone calls were luxuries for few and the only way to keep in touch was writing letters that took days, sometimes weeks, to arrive. But that’s assuming, of course, they could write! It was November 2, 1973. The man had gone on the…

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#13 Cuccía: a Sicilian tradition on Saint Lucy’s day

On the calendar, December 13th appears a day like any other, but in Sicily many are waiting for this date. The day of Saint Lucy (also celebrated in other parts of the world) is in fact one of the most awaited (minor) holidays by the Sicilians, and above all by the Palermo people. For devotion, of course, but above all for gluttony, and the cuccìa that certainly cannot miss. Large excluded: flour products.  The origin of this custom remains disputed between the cities of Palermo and Syracuse, where Lucy also…

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13# Saint Lucy’s Day: traditions of the world

Today 13 December is celebrate Saint Lucy’s Day, a Christian feast day commemorating Saint Lucy, a 3rd-century martyr under the Diocletianic Persecution, who according to the legend brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs, using a candle-lit wreath to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible. She was one of the earliest Christian martyrs, and was killed by the Romans in 304 CE because of her religious beliefs. Before calendar reforms, her feast once coincided with the Winter Solstice,…

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