November is a sombre time in Sicily, traditionally it’s not all jack o lanterns and candy rather its about taking flowers to the cemetery and lighting artificial lights instead of candles in memory of the dead.
All souls and dearly held saints are prayed for in religious services in the Roman Catholic church and the autumn signals the beginning of winter.
Sicilian’s make the rounds of the graveyards with chrysanthemums cradled in their arms, paying floral homage to their ancestors and placing light globes around the edges of tombs.
Trinacria’s necropolises are decorated by the living as the photo’s of the dead demand it, the images on each tomb and mausoleum plea to be acknowledged. Each photo has surreptitiously robbed a piece of their soul imprisoning their glances in an eerie reflection of life.
As we honor our deceased in among flowers dampened by the rain and hazardous electrical wiring, we secretly utter a prayer for those we love and hope not to be accidentally electrocuted.
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was ’ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove,—
“Guess now who holds thee!”—“Death,” I said, But, there,
The silver answer rang, “Not Death, but Love.”
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Sonnets from the Portuguese.
3 thoughts on “Flowers and lights for our ancestors”
Great post and a lovely tradition to remember your ancestors and departed loved ones.
It is a great way of remembering, the graves become like family temples, it’s quite Asian really.
I always find those pictures strange, but like that it makes the site more personal. Yikes about the electricity!
I’ll give some candy out in your name here tonight:)
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