The folkloric traditions related to Saint Lucia of Syracuse are characterized, in Sicily as well as elsewhere in Italy, by a peculiar mythical-ritual symbolism. The eyes, fire, wheat are the main elements. The Saint is invoked to solve the problems of sight and all ophthalmic pathologies (both in a cult context and in a magical-medical one) and as such she is the recipient of ex voto objects and the protagonist of prayers and spells. On the eve of her dies natalis, bonfires are lit and processions of torches take place; for her festival, celebrated in some centers with solemn functions and processions, foods based on wheat seeds, sometimes added with other legumes, are widely prepared. This symbolism – beyond any interpretation that over time has been given in relation to episodes in the life of the Saint, to the features derived from the reference of her name to “light,” and to her miraculous interventions – reveals a background of pre-Christian practices and beliefs that, though re-semantized and re-functionalized, constitute a fascinating and authentic – to use the words of Giorgio De Santillana – “sacred repository of lost ages” (Fato antico e fato moderno, Milano 1985).

Buttitta I (2020). Gli occhi, il fuoco, il grano. Simboli, pratiche e credenze tradizionali nel culto di santa Lucia di Siracusa. ARTE CRISTIANA, CVIII(921), 444-461.

Gli occhi, il fuoco, il grano. Simboli, pratiche e credenze tradizionali nel culto di santa Lucia di Siracusa

Buttitta I
2020

Abstract

The folkloric traditions related to Saint Lucia of Syracuse are characterized, in Sicily as well as elsewhere in Italy, by a peculiar mythical-ritual symbolism. The eyes, fire, wheat are the main elements. The Saint is invoked to solve the problems of sight and all ophthalmic pathologies (both in a cult context and in a magical-medical one) and as such she is the recipient of ex voto objects and the protagonist of prayers and spells. On the eve of her dies natalis, bonfires are lit and processions of torches take place; for her festival, celebrated in some centers with solemn functions and processions, foods based on wheat seeds, sometimes added with other legumes, are widely prepared. This symbolism – beyond any interpretation that over time has been given in relation to episodes in the life of the Saint, to the features derived from the reference of her name to “light,” and to her miraculous interventions – reveals a background of pre-Christian practices and beliefs that, though re-semantized and re-functionalized, constitute a fascinating and authentic – to use the words of Giorgio De Santillana – “sacred repository of lost ages” (Fato antico e fato moderno, Milano 1985).
Settore M-DEA/01 - Discipline Demoetnoantropologiche
Buttitta I (2020). Gli occhi, il fuoco, il grano. Simboli, pratiche e credenze tradizionali nel culto di santa Lucia di Siracusa. ARTE CRISTIANA, CVIII(921), 444-461.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10447/479575
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