Anthropomorphous votive bread in Italian holidays

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Key words
votive bread, calendar rites, cult of dead, ethnography of Sicily
Buttitta I.

In Italy there are various records of the recurring presence of ceremonial breads; among these we may observe votive anthropomorphic breads, in particular in Sicily. These “special” breads are prepared for calendar festivals, for the patron saints’ days celebrations or anyway for celebrations of particular relevance for single communities, being connected to critical phases of the wheat cycle: that is to say, the month of May, the earing season, and June—July, the harvest season. This allows us to make the hypothesis that a devotional and votive value as regards these breads might be added to a more ancient logic of offerings to deities, connected to a vision of the rural world. In this sense, the ritual offerings and the consumption of votive anthropomorphic breads are aimed to recompose the bodily and the cosmic order