A SICILIAN PROVERB TO KEEP IN MIND: ‘A SQUAGLIATA DA NIVI SI VIDUNU I PURTUSA’ (WHEN SNOW MELTS, POTHOLES WILL APPEAR)

After a heavy snowfall, the snow-covered roads look beautiful, soft, and smooth, but when snow melts, potholes appear.

Obviously, the snow-covered road is a metaphor. What the proverb means is that when the veil of illusion covering your real being is removed, you will show your real nature and shortcomings.

A friend of mine once told me that he was going to get married to a girl he had come across through a dating site.

“Do you know her?” I asked him.

“I have never met her,” he replied, “but I’ve seen her picture on the computer and I’ve been chatting with her for a year. She is very beautiful and smart!”

A few months later, I met him again. He was a bit depressed, for the engagement had fallen apart. In fact, when he met the girl face to face, she was not beautiful at all. Her photo on the dating site was just a bait.

The moral of the story? We had better be straightforward and show ourselves as we are, otherwise ‘A squagliata da nivi si vidunu I purtusa! (When snow melts, potholes will appear!)

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

SNOW IN ENNA (SICILY) GREETS LUNAR NEW YEAR

I consider myself a citizen of the world, beyond creeds, fixed ideas, and religions. I dare say that I accept all religions, as Alexander the Great did. Whenever he conquered a new country, he paid homage to the local gods and even made sacrifices to them.

Having this forma mentis, I celebrate New Year’s Day twice: once according to the solar calendar and once according to the lunar calendar. Lunar New Year falls on January 22, this year.

We had a tasty lunch, and then we watched the snow falling in Enna. Soon, a white mantle enveloped the city.

It was amazing to see the snow-covered streets and the white roofs. It does not happen often in Enna, in these days of global warming.

The white color of the snow is a symbol of candor and purification. I love snow!

I hope the New Year will bring into the world the candor, innocence, and peace it has been missing for a long time!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SICILIAN PROVERB: CUMU VENI SI CUNTA (WE WILL TELL THE STORY OF AN EVENT AFTER IT HAS HAPPENED)

The literal translation of this Sicilian proverb ‘We will tell the story of an event after it has happened’ does not fully express its meaning.  The hidden meaning is ‘Wait until an event or a situation really happens, and then you can tell the story about it. Do not create a future event in your mind. You have to live your life here and now. The future does not exist, because we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow.’

This proverb recalls the ‘Carpe diem’ (Seize the moment) by the Latin poet, Horatio, The Song of Bacchus by Lorenzo dei Medici, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Having in mind the old Sicilian proverb ‘Cumu veni si cunta’, we will learn not to be involved in situations or happenings that do not exist yet. We will live our life here and now!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE CATHEDRAL OF SYRACUSE, ALSO KNOWN AS THE TEMPLE OF ATHENA

More than once, I have visited the Cathedral of Syracuse and every time I have been impressed by the interior of the church, which is nothing more than the old temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, still well preserved.

The columns with their Doric capitals are intact and even the drapes of the Virgin Mary’s robes recall those of the Greek goddesses.

Paradoxically, the Catholic Church saved this pagan temple by incorporating it into the Cathedral Church.

This also happened in other places. For instance, the Church of San Clemente, near the Colosseum, houses the Temple of Mithra, still visible in the second basement. The same goes for the Pantheon, in Rome, built by the pagan emperor Hadrian to worship all gods of all nations and now turned into the Church of Santa Maria della Rotonda.

What can we infer from this? The desire to worship God has always been present in human beings, from the Stone Age to the present day. Let us be tolerant of all religions and cults!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE LIVE NATIVITY SCENE IN CALASCIBETTA (SICILY)

Yesterday, we went to the nearby town of Calascibetta.  This charming old town was once dotted with caves where people used to live. Nowadays, new buildings have covered much of the caves. However, there is an area, where they still survive. In this place, the local population has set up a live Nativity Scene inside the caves, with men, women, and children dressed in a similar way to that at the time of Jesus’s birth.

We walked along the caves and savored the charm of times gone by, when human heart was more alive, tools were handmade, the food was natural, and the air not polluted.

After visiting the caves, we tasted local products: chickpea soup, cheese, and local sweets.

The live Nativity Scene in Calascibetta stands not only for tourists. It also has a deep religious meaning!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION IN ENNA (SICILY)

December 8, the Day of the Immaculate Conception, is a special occurrence in my hometown of Enna.

On this day, it is customary to buy some lupine beans and blueberries. In Enna, you can find them only on the eve and on the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

I do not know why we eat such fruit on this day. Surely, there must be a reason. However, following the tradition, yesterday I bought some.

On December 8, the statue of the Virgin Mary is brought in procession. Brethren of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception carry on their shoulders a heavy litter with the statue of Mary. For them, carrying the litter is a special honor and privilege.

While the statue passes along the streets, people pray to Our Lady for mercy.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception in my hometown of Enna is just a folkloristic event or there is a deep religious meaning behind it?

As for Enna people, I am sure that they live this feast day with authentic religious zeal!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

A STATUETTE OF OUR LADY WEARING HANBOK

Before leaving Korea, we received a beautiful gift from our Korean friends. They gave us a small statue of the Virgin Mary wearing hanbok, a traditional Korean dress; furthermore, her hairstyle is typically Korean.

We placed the statuette on a piece of furniture in our house in Enna. In the same room, there is a picture of Mary of the Visitation, the protector of my hometown of Enna (Sicily).

The picture of the Sicilian Madonna is quite different from the Korean statuette. The former wears a crown, a cloak and a robe covered with gold, furthermore it has western features; the latter wears a very simple traditional dress and shows oriental features.

What is the real face of the Virgin Mary? Eastern, Western, white or black? We do not know.

Probably, when we are in another dimension, we will be able to see the true face of Our Lady!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

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

THE TIME OF MOURNING IN OLD SICILY

After the funeral we had a tasty dinner. For eight days we were served breakfast, lunch, and dinner by our close friends. All the families gathered around the table. In Enna, you could not make the time of mourning at your will. It had to last eight days. During this time, besides being served delicious food by our relatives and close friends, we received visits from our neighbors and acquaintances.

The food we received was more delicious than anything I had ever eaten before—so much so that a doubt arose in my mind: “Is this a time for mourning or a party?”

After eating, we returned to the double bedroom to show our grief as the visitors came in little by little. I sat next to my mother and observed the scene. The visitors entered the room and gave condolences to the family members, starting with my grandmother, and then they sat on the chairs scattered across the room and remained silent or talked with some of the family members.

Every family member was dressed in black. As soon as a new visitor came in, my mother and Aunt Carolina put a sad expression on their faces. Then they started chatting with the newcomers. While they chatted their faces were quite relaxed, but whenever a new visitor came in, they stopped chatting right away and took on a sorrowful look. In fact, it was mandatory to show a contrite face; otherwise folks might think they didn’t mourn the loss of their father…

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

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

AN EDUCATIVE SICILIAN PROVERB

The proverb is this:

Quannu a fortuna nun ti dici, iettiti ‘nterra e accampa fafaluci

When luck is not on your side, you had better go to the countryside and pick up snails.

Do good and bad luck exist or are they just illusions? We don’t know. However, if there is a proverb about fortune, it means that countless past generations have come into contact with both good and bad luck.

What to do in case of persistent hard luck? According to popular Sicilian wisdom, instead of fighting against hard luck, we had better give up our aims, at least temporarily. Instead, we should go to the countryside, look for snails, and collect them. In this case we would do something useful, instead of wasting energy to fight against bad luck.

Snails are a delicious food. Assuming one knows how to cook them!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

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

DEAD LEAVES

Everyone has a unique history and a special life. Some people— prophets, great philosophers, musicians, artists, kings, heroes, and so on—have left a mark on the history books. Good or evil, those who have stood out are remembered by posterity; people like Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and others. At their demise, the lives of ordinary people are like dead leaves swept away by the wind when fall arrives. They sink into oblivion, as history pays them no mind. In addition to the history of individuals, there is that of nations, but no book can include the biographies of all the people who formed the nations of the world.

In Greek mythology, the Fates, three ladies dressed in white, symbolized man’s fate. The first, Clotho, spun the thread of life on her spindle; the second, Lachesis, measured its length by her rod; the third, called Atropos, cut the thread of life at her will. Nobody was able to oppose them. Even almighty Zeus was powerless against the Fates; he was unable to change a person’s fate even if he strongly wished it…

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English version)

A Hidden Sicilian History (English version)

The Vibrations of Words (English version)

Travels of the Mind (English version)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (versione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (versione in lingua italiana)

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