One of the most vital attributes of Italians and Sicilians is their sincerity. In general, Sicilian’s are very honest; they don’t like people who put on a false face. Hence this week’s Sicilian saying, which gives us a warning about the fraudulent nature of some people.
With the church-attending tradition at the foremost of our minds, we have the image of those who pretend to be all pious and good in church, when everyone is watching, yet when they are home turned into devils.
The religious imagery is so vivid that putting together the angelic with the satanic seeks to highlight the steep contrast in these two worlds and make the saying more substantial and more cutting still.
When we speak of the stinging truthful nature of these sayings, this strong image is precisely what we mean; no one can argue with the fact that some people appear to behave in one way, in a religious context but in reality outside of the church are unhinged.
Not only does the saying say some people are a little less religious or kind or compassionate, or less Christian, it takes the time to say, some people are the exact opposite. They are behaving like an angel while in reality being a devil.
Hence its a more severe observation on the nature of humanity when outside of a religious context; some people’s character reflects the absence of god. They haven’t simply forgotten themselves; instead, their true nature encapsulates the lack of god, which is more sinister still.
Here, we have a strong rebuke for anyone who puts on a prayerful persona in church. Then, returning home or outside of the context of the very public gathering of church-going has another face.
This saying highlights a distrust for the workings of the church itself and serves as a warning about human nature’s duplicitous nature.
Do not be fooled by people’s appearances, as they might be hiding something more sinister.
What do you think would be an equivalent saying in Emglish? Don’t judge a book by its cover springs to mind but it seems a bit lame in comparison.
Help me out in the comments …