The Spirit of Sicily and Her People: A Supplication to Siciliani
For over 10 millennia the inhabitants of Sicily have faced wave after wave of foreign invasion. Wars that have been waged upon our people by outsiders looking to call our island their own. For over 10,000 years the children of Persephassa have been subjected to oppression, slavery, systematic abuse, extortion, invasion, and poverty both in our homeland and wherever we settled during the years of the diaspora. This has left our people with a truly hardened spirit and an unbreakable resolve. Called “hard-headed” and “temperamental”, it’s the genetic memory of the hardships that our ancestors have had to endure, since time-immemorial, that has made us a truly unique people. Unshakeable in the face of adversity there is nothing that can withstand or break the will of a Sicilian. When in battle we have been described by outsiders as “ferocious”, as one English soldier remarked, “Only Saints and Sicilians dare fence with the Devil!”
Though poverty and promises of a better life drove many of our ancestors to leave their ancient homeland-in one of the largest mass migrations in human history-the people of Trinacria remain united in blood and spirit and bonded by our ancient traditions. It’s these very traditions that keep our spirits alive! Born from the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna and the life-giving waters of the Mediterranean, these traditions were nourished by invasion and tested by oppression, they are as old as the Sicani themselves and as alive as Mungibeddu. They are the very expression of our fiery souls, the very aether which binds our people together. It is for this reason why it is essential to maintain these traditions and to explore our genetic memory, why we must study our history and never forget where it is that we come from, for this is who we are now! We’re not dead, nor are we dying, our heritage did not perish with the bones of our ancestors but lives within each and every one of us, within the fires of our hearts. So finally, let us never forget to tend to that flame and immerse ourselves in our culture, become familiar with our language, surround ourselves with the music of our ancestral island- playing it loud and proudly, to practice our unique religion- that which was formed through the sacred and the profane, and learn everything we can from our elders. Let us show the world who we are and remind ourselves in the process, to live our lives with the honor and strength of our ancestors, and as an old Sicilian Maga once made me promise her, “Never give up these traditions, no matter what anyone tells you, always keep them with you and never let them go!”So here’s my challenge to you paesani, find one way, just one aspect of our Sicilian culture, to dedicate a part of your life to preserving. Express it in our communities and to the world, remind those who have forgotten how vibrant we are and remind the world that we’re still a strong and beautiful community!