Home    Number 6, 2011

Celebrating the “Day of the Dead” in Sicily

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

Oksana D. Fais | atenish@yandex.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS


sicily, day of the dead, return of the dead, mortuary cult, celebration, mourning practices, sweets, funeral bread, innovations, remembering of the deceased, sugar dolls, martorana fruit, presents for children, funeral repast, preservation of tradition


The article is an inquiry into the past and present of traditions of celebrating the Day of the Dead in Sicily. In the local version under consideration, this celebration is unique to Italy. The author touches upon various aspects of the commemoration tradition, but the major accent is placed on its food component, particularly sweets and bread types used in funeral repasts. Attention is paid to the practice of giving presents to children on “behalf of the ancestors”. The author argues that both the perception of the Day of the Dead as a celebration called upon to unite the ancestors and the descendants, and the traditional rituals held to celebrate it are still alive today.


Fais, O.D. 2011. Celebrating the “Day of the Dead” in Sicily. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 6: 3-15

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