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Given Away, A Sicilian Upbringing
This topic is about Given Away, A Sicilian Upbringing
Italian History > Italian Superstitions.

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Marianna Randazzo (goodreadscommariannarandazzo) | 3 comments Does anyone know anything about Italian superstitions. In my novel, Given Away a Sicilian Upbringing, I discuss the evil eye and jealousy but I am interested in specific superstitions that people have heard about or actually believe. The topic seems to come up quite frequently in my presentations.

message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann Reavis (AJRWriter) | 2 comments I have blogged about Italian superstitions:

Marianna Randazzo (goodreadscommariannarandazzo) | 3 comments Thank you Ann. Very interesting information. I have shared on my social networks.

message 4: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Perry | 41 comments Hi there. I grew up in a family with paternal grandparents from Calabria, southern Italy and maternal grandparents from Sicily. Though very religious, superstitions also held great influence. Deaths of children and divorces were believed the result of someone putting the evil eye on a person or specific family unit. Entering and exiting a house using the same door to avoid bringing in bad spirits and never putting a hat on a bed were safety precaution rules I learned as a child. My historical fiction, The Inheritance, features superstitious beliefs. Set in Calabria from 1897 to 1913, the people believed earthquakes were the result of God's anger at their unholy ways. Lavender was also believed to ward off the evil eye and plants rooted around homes, etc. If you're interested, please check out my website:

message 5: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Mckenzie (carolynsophie) | 9 comments Hi Marianne, yes, I remember some of those superstitions too - they were still alive and well in small-town Calabria in the 1970s. By the way, have you seen the film or read the book "Christ stopped at Eboli" by Carlo Levi? I now it's set in Lucania, not Calabria, but some of the superstitions and beliefs are probably very similar. Good luck with the book - I'm enjoying it so far.

message 6: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Perry | 41 comments Hi Carolyn. I have not seen or heard about the book you referenced but will certainly look it up. Thanks for taking the time to mention it. I always thought it so difficult to reconcile in my family that while we were expected to study hard and graduate college/university, we were also expected to respect and follow these superstitious beliefs. My parents were born in Canada but subscribed to traditional ways.

message 7: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Mckenzie (carolynsophie) | 9 comments Hi Marianne, I think it's great that your parents taught you about Italian traditions because recognising those things when you went to Calabria would have made your visit there so much richer. nowadays it's too easy to shrug off superstitions, but if we look at them in the context of their origins and of the 18-19th century, and when we remember how incredibly hard life was in rural Italy at that time, then it's easier to understand the role of superstitions in everyday life.

message 8: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Perry | 41 comments So well expressed, Carolyn. I live in the country and when I see the wind whip the trees or stir the waves, I can understand why my ancestors believed God was angry with them. So many women died in childbirth and living conditions were so harsh in Calabria, when I went to the mountain village where my paternal grandfather was born, my life made more sense. I spent an afternoon in an old museum with farm tools and cooking utensils. You are so right (again) about the hard life in a rural environment. Wonderful insight, you have.

message 9: by * Bar * (new)

* Bar * Also here in the North we had this kind of superstitions last century...

message 10: by Marianne (new)

Marianne Perry | 41 comments Hi Barbara. I get mixed up with what regions people are referring to. What do you mean by "north" if I may ask? Thanks.

message 11: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindalappin) | 6 comments Scratch the surface and you will find superstitions thriving, especially in rural areas, where malocchio goes hand in hand with healing, dowsing, and even out of body travel

message 12: by Laurie (last edited Apr 07, 2018 07:24AM) (new)

Laurie  (laugal) My ancestors were Sicilian. I have learned some "superstitions in the last few years. On New year's Eve they tend to eat Lentils,as the lentils look like coins,so it is a positive thing to do for the new year,to bring more fortune. Also on New year's Eve, they sweep out the house and sweep the dirt out the front get rid of the negative and allow for positive energy to come in in the new year.

message 13: by Vivienne (new)

Vivienne Raffaele | 1 comments Lentils are traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve all over Italy. One year my mother-in-law (who is Sicilian) made us all keep 3 lentils from New Year's Eve dinner wrapped up in tin foil in our purse/wallet for the following month, the theory being that we would all become fantastically wealthy. I tried leaving them there for an extra month, just to be sure, but unfortunately the Lentil Fairy appeared to be on strike!

message 14: by Laurie (new)

Laurie  (laugal) Vivienne wrote: "Lentils are traditionally eaten on New Year's Eve all over Italy. One year my mother-in-law (who is Sicilian) made us all keep 3 lentils from New Year's Eve dinner wrapped up in tin foil in our pur..."
I hate when the fortune fairies do not show up! Thank you for the added info and insight! You made me smile.

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