A DEVOTIONAL SICILIAN CAKE: I CUDDUREDDI

Visiting Enna without seeing the Sanctuary of Papardura is like visiting Palermo without seeing Monreale. It is a unique place. No tour guide can skip it.

On September 13 and 14, there is a special festival. Both gates to the sanctuary are open and the faithful make special devotional cakes called cuddureddi. They are made of water and flower and have a special shape, for they look like intertwined rings. They are also hard to eat.

The cuddureddi date back to Demeter’s time. Once people decorated them with poppy seeds. These days they are plain, for the poppy was too reminiscent of the pagan goddess Demeter to whom it was sacred.

Inside the church, above the altar, is the holy image of Jesus on the Calvary, imprinted on the rock. Both the altar and the church are a continuation of the cave where long ago the holy image was found.

According to a historian from Enna, called Father Giovanni, in the year 1659 Jesus appeared to a Franciscan nun and asked her to clean a cave in Papardura because there was his image on the rock. The cave was cleaned and actually, the image of Jesus appeared.

Apart from its sacredness, the place deserves to be visited for its beauty and for the landscape in which it is inserted.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

IMPORTANT DISCOVERY BY THE SCOUTS OF ENNA (SICILY)

The girls and boys of the Enna Scout group Agesci 1 fully deserve to be called Scouts, for they have explored the slopes of Enna from a height of one thousand meters to the bottom of the valley and have brought to light the ancient “Via Sacra” (The Sacred Way), which is the old sacred way that, before Christianity, pilgrims walked to visit the temple of Demeter.

Man has always believed that the Deity lived either in the sky or on top of some mountain. Think of Mount Olympus, for example. It was natural that the temple of Demeter was located in a mountain, in Enna.

Demeter was the goddess of the crops and was invoked to have a good harvest. It is said that during time of famine, even the Senate of Rome used to send a delegation to Enna to propitiate the goddess.

Along the Sacred Way there were sacred shrines and also small cisterns of water for purification rites. This is now visible and can be visited thanks to the Scouts of Enna that had brought to light this archaeological treasure.

I thank Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement, because thanks to his initiative, boys and girls can grow up in accordance with the universal principles of love for nature, research, and above all friendship.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE SANCTUARY OF THE HOLY CRUCIFIX OF PAPARDURA IN ENNA (SICILY)

For a place to have the title of “Sanctuary”, it must be surrounded by an air of legend about the discovery of a sacred object or a miracle that happened there, and of course it is necessary that people feel the sacredness of the place and make pilgrimages.

The Sanctuary of Papardura, deserves this title.

It is said that towards the middle of the seventeenth century some peasants who lived in the fields around Enna saw a light on the top of the Papardura cave at night. They set out for the cave but when they arrived, the light disappeared.

It is also said that in the year 1659, a Franciscan nun had the vision of Jesus crucified who asked her to have the cave of Papardura cleaned because there was his effigy inside. The cave was cleaned up and the image found. Then, a church was built in front of the cave.

Miracles took place there, as evidenced by the items that pilgrims left in thanksgiving for the graces they had received.

On 12 September, the day of the feast of the Crucifix of Papardura, the administrators of the sanctuary distribute special sweets, called “Cuddureddi”, to the visitors. They date back to the time of the Goddess Demeter. The only difference is that the “Cuddureddi” are no longer garnished with poppy seeds, a flower that was sacred to Demeter. After all, the religious spirit remains unchanged, from the pagan era to the present day!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE ORIGIN OF THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE

There is no doubt that the Italian language was born in Sicily in the thirteenth century at the time of the Sicilian School of poetry whose main exponent was Iacopo da Lentini, the inventor of the sonnet.

A sonnet is a poem made up of fourteen rhyming lines: two quatrains and two triplets.

With the permission of Iacopo da Lentini, I dare to translate one of his sonnets into English. Of course, there are no rhymes in the English version. I hope Iacopo da Lentini will forgive me for my amateur translation.

AMOR E’ UNO DESIO CHE VEN DA CORE

Amore è uno desio che ven da core

Per abbondanza di gran piacimento;

E li occhi in prima generan l’amore

E lo core li dà nutricamento

Ben è alcuna fiata om amatore

Senza vedere so ‘namoramento

Ma quell’amor che stringe con furore

Da la vista de li occhi ha nascimento:

Ché li occhi rappresentan a lo core

D’ogni cosa che veden bono  e rio

Com’è formata naturalmente;

E lo cor, che di zo è concepitore,

Imagina, e li piace quel desio:

E questo amore regna fra la gente.

LOVE IS A DESIRE THAT COMES FROM THE HEART

Love is a desire that comes from the heart

Because of abundance of pleasure;

The eyes first generate love

And then, the heart nourishes it.

It is possible that sometimes a man loves

Without seeing the loved one,

But that love that grabs him with fury

Comes from the sight of the eyes:

Because the eyes show to the heart

The good and evil of everything

As it is naturally made of;

And the heart that receives the message (of the eyes)

Dreams and enjoys that desire:

And this is human love.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE PUBLIC WASH HOUSE IN ENNA (SICILY)

The public washhouse is located in a place called “Papardura”, near one of the seven gates to Enna. Of course, nobody uses it anymore.

According to legend, the name Papardura comes from Pope Urban who passed through this gate when he visited Enna. Others think that the place was so named because  the area was rich in spring waters.

A long time ago, the washhouse was swarming with housewives washing their clothes. They used ash to clean them and also a chemical called lye.

Near the washhouse there is a drinking trough. Donkeys and mules used to quench their thirst there. People also drank from the small conduits that supplied the drinking trough. Although eroded by time, the coat of arms of the city of Enna is still visible on the wall above the drinking trough.

Can you imagine life back then? There were no washing machines or other kinds of appliances in the houses. Was it better then or now? I can only say that life was different.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE SECRET UNDERGROUND PASSAGE UNDER THE TOWER OF FREDERICK II OF SWABIA

Under the tower of Frederick II of Swabia, in Enna, Sicily, there is an underground passage that no one knows where it leads or where it ends.

Some people from my hometown of Enna claim that the underground passage was used to connect the tower to the Castle of Lombardy, which was also built by Frederick II and is at least a kilometer away. However, there is no evidence of this. It might just be town talk.

The fact is that nobody ever dared to walk through the underground passage. Where could it lead?

The answer is just one: the Tower of Frederic II of Swabia in Enna is shrouded in mystery, like Castel Del Monte in Puglia. Both were built by Frederick II of Swabia on an octagonal plan and had no military function. It is said that Castel Del Monte is a huge safe to enclose a legendary object: the Holy Grail. Could the underground passage under the Tower of Frederick II of Swabia in Enna also hide something?

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE THEATER CLOSEST TO THE STARS

The plateau on which Enna stands is not completely flat. There are three areas that are a bit elevated and gently slope down to the center of the city. Seen from above, the area looks like a triangle. On one tip is an old castle called il Castello di Lombardia (the Castle of Lombardy), which is still accessible, even though a few towers have fallen into ruin. On the other tip is the Franciscan Monastery of Capuchin of Montesalvo, and on the third tip is the cemetery, which lies on a hillock. In the center of the triangle is the Piazza San Francesco (Saint Francis Square) and Belvedere Marconi, the viewpoint of Enna. People stroll in these places in the evenings during the summertime, for the weather is mild and the view from Belvedere Marconi is unique. They can admire the illuminated towns as well as Mount Etna which occasionally releases fiery flashes from its central crater.

The Castle of Lombardy stands in the highest part of the city. It was a military castle. According to some authors, it took its name from the Lombard soldiers who stayed in the fortress during the Norman period. The best-preserved tower is called Pisana Tower. It was built by Frederick II of Swabia and was so named because it was manned by a garrison of soldiers from Pisa.

The Castle of Lombardy was considered impregnable. Later, it was converted first into a prison and then into an open-air theater, called the theater closest to the stars, due to its altitude. In fact, it was situated at an elevation of one thousand meters above sea level. These days, tourists come and visit the castle and climb the steps to the top of the Pisana Tower.

From up there, they can admire valleys, mountain ranges, villages, towns, Lake Pergusa, Mount Etna, and the Tower of Frederick on the other side of the city.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MAYFLIES IN LAKE PERGUSA (SICILY)

Today, I took a walk around mythic Lake Pergusa. Once, it was swarming with dragonflies, butterflies, and mayflies, and the croak of the frogs was audible. These days, things are different. However, this morning, while walking near the water, to my surprise, I spotted a few mayflies.

With me was also my son who had never seen a mayfly.

“A mayfly, also called an ephemera or dayfly, is an insect that lives for a very short time, it is born in the morning and dies that same day. What would you do if you were a mayfly with only one day of life?” I asked my son.

“I would spend my day of life sending petitions to the rulers of the world, asking them not to pollute the earth, so that mayflies can survive. And what about you, Father?”

I replied, “I would spend my only day of life praying to God and asking him to make me live one more day, and then another day, and then another day, until the end of time,” I replied.  

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

BLESSED GIROLAMO DE ANGELIS, A GREAT SICILIAN

An interesting thing to see in Enna (Sicily) is the skull of Blessed Girolamo de Angelis. The relic is kept in the Church of Saint Marc, in the center of the city.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, this Jesuit son of Enna  landed in  Japan to preach the Gospel. Listening to his sermons, some Japanese converted to Catholicism. However, he ran into persecution against Christians and was burned at the stake. His body was reduced to ashes except his skull which miraculously remained intact. One of his Japanese disciples collected the skull which eventually reached Enna, the birthplace of the Jesuit martyr.

Meditating for a few minutes in front of the relic of Blessed Girolamo De Angelis gives strength and the courage to make love prevail over any other feeling.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

BRAMBLES AROUND LAKE PERGUSA (SICILY)

In ancient Greece and Rome every god and goddess had a plant, fruit, or tree sacred to them. The oak was sacred to Zeus, the pomegranate to Hera, the olive tree to Athena, and so on. In Greece, anyone who dared to cut down an olive tree was liable to the death penalty.

Even Hades, the god of the underworld, had a tree sacred to him: the cypress.

What about blackberries? They too had their god to whom they were sacred. He was Saturn, the Latin equivalent of Cronus, the god of time in Greek mythology.

Lake Pergusa, the only natural lake in Sicily, is full of brambles. They surround the lake like a ring. The wild rabbits that live by the lake hide among the thorny brambles to escape their predators.

Blackberries are rich in therapeutic properties. They are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory. Today, running around Lake Pergusa, I tasted some blackberries. I found them delicious!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo