FOOD OF OUR ANCESTORS: THE AGRARIAN-CHTHONIC ROOTS OF “SAINT JOSEPH’S TABLES” IN SICILY AND THEIR POSTMODERN REINVENTION

Альманах
Key words
sacred meal, ritual symbols, cultural heritage, Sicily
Author
IGNAZIO E. BUTTITTA
About the Author
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5564-4028
E-mail: ignazio.buttitta@unipa.it
Tel.: +39 (091) 23-86-55-3715,
Viale delle Scienze, Palermo, 90128, Italy
Full Professor of ethno-anthropological disciplines, Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, University of Palermo
Received
Date of publication
DOI
10.26158/TK.2019.20.3.013
Body

Numerous traditional Sicilian religious festivals have a symbolism related to plant and human fruitfulness and to the return of life and abundance and they reveal a temporal con-nection with the productive cycles of the main agricultural products. These symbolic and tem-poral connections are particularly evident in the case of votive banquets set up for Saint Joseph (March 19). The types and forms of foods prepared, performative moments that accompany the sacred meal, and the ritual actors who consume it (the Holy Family, the apostles, the virgineddi [small virgins], the vicchiareddi [little old men]) clearly refer to an agrarian-chthonic ideology typical to numerous Euro-Mediterranean peasant cultures. Moreover, the time when the festival is celebrated has an evident relationship with the spring and the germination of crops and refl ects the desire that this critical moment be protected by supernatural forces that, despite the surface Christian references, are rooted in chthonic beliefs connected to the aft erlife.

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For citation

Buttitta I. E. Food of our ancestors: Th e agrarian-chthonic roots of “Saint Joseph’s Tables” in Sicily and their postmodern reinvention. Traditional culture. 2019. Vol. 20. No. 3. Pp. 150–164. In Russian.