SUNSET AT LAKE PERGUSA (SICILY)

LAKE

Lake Pergusa is the only natural lake in Sicily. The other Sicilian lakes are just reservoirs.
Lake Pergusa lies in the center of Sicily. According to the myth, Kore, Demeter’s daughter was abducted by Pluto while she was picking flowers by the lush shore of this lake. After that, she became the queen of the underground and her name changed from Kore into Persephone.
These days, there is a racetrack around the lake, but the area has not lost its mythological charm.
Walking by the lake at sunset, I saw a cave in the distance. Maybe from there Pluto came out with his chariot drawn by powerful steeds. All of a sudden, he snatched Kore from the luxuriant earth and took her to the underground.
Thinking about the myth, I felt like walking in another world, fantastic and beautiful.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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

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THE ORIGIN OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SICILY AND ITALY

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You are welcome, even though you are Italian, a descendant of the ancient Romans.’ ‘I am from Sicily. The Romans didn’t consider Sicily part of Italy. In fact, Sicily was a Roman colony, like Judea. We were ruled by a Roman governor like you. You had Pontius Pilate, and we had Verres, who was so brutal that he stripped the Sicilian temples of the golden statues. In my hometown he couldn’t steal the statue of Demeter because it was too big, but he snatched away the statue of Victory which Demeter held in her hand,’ I said.”
“Uncle Salvatore. Don’t you think that still now there are differences and misunderstanding between Sicily and Italy? I have a feeling that they are two different nations. As for me, I consider myself as a Sicilian rather than an Italian. What about you?”
“Benedetto, I am a citizen of the world, as you know. So I don’t feel like being Italian or Sicilian. My country is the world. Garibaldi unified Italy politically, but he couldn’t make one nation with the many small countries that preexisted Italy, because all of them had different history, traditions, and their uniqueness.

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

THE GRATINGS IN THE CHURCHES OF ENNA

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On Good Friday the streets of Enna are swarming with tourists from all over Europe. Many churches are open, even those that usually are kept closed during the year, due to the shortage of priests.

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The Church of Santa Chiara was open. It was adjacent to the ex-convent of the Franciscan Poor Clare Sisters. There were many tourists inside the church, who admired the artistic tiles on the floor and the graves of the soldiers who died in the First and Second World War.

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Then, everybody moved to the cathedral from where the litters with the statues of Jesus and Our Lady of Sorrows were carried in procession.

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I think few tourists paid attention to the gratings both inside and outside the churches. Obviously, they didn’t know the history of Enna. They couldn’t know why there were gratings not only inside the churches but also in the external walls.

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One time there were many monasteries, convents and churches in Enna. Many nuns were cloistered. They had no contact with the external world except through the gratings. They were able to look outside without being seen, for the gratings were very thick. They could see people in the church and, through the external gratings, they could also see the processions and people walking in the street.

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These days there are no cloistered nuns anymore. The last were the Carmelite Sisters, who left Enna a few years ago. Now, the empty convents, churches and gratings witness the presence of the nuns that lived there.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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

PASSION SUNDAY IN ENNA

 

 

 

 

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In my hometown, the processions of Holy Week are ingrained in townspeople’s DNA.
On Palm Sunday the wooden statue of Jesus is carried on a litter in procession by the brethren who belong to the Confraternity of Passion, from the Church of San Leonardo to the cathedral.
The town band and the townspeople follow the statue. While I was in the procession I had a look at those around me. Some women who had been attractive one time, now had their faces seamed with wrinkles. An old friend of mine whom I had not seen for a long time came close to me and we walked together for a little while. He told me that he had undergone two difficult surgical operations, but now he was in a good condition. I also saw a woman who had a bad reputation. Although she was a doctor, she was considered by everybody a rude and malevolent woman. There were also young people with a jaunty air. Everybody followed the procession as if they were going with the current of a river. At the end we arrived at the cathedral. The procession was over and I returned home to write something about what I had seen.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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

SPRING-CLEANING IN MY HOMETOWN

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When Easter draws near, the housewives in my hometown clean their houses deeply. They move the furniture from one side to another and clean everywhere. Apparently, they follow an old Jewish tradition. In fact, during Passover, which symbolizes the liberation of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt, the Jews clean deeply their houses to remove all traces of leavened products.
I, too, started cleaning my apartment, room by room. Doing that, I realized that cleaning the rooms was like cleaning my mind. Can you imagine a person with a clean mind that lives in a dirty house? Of course not. Actually, everything is connected: mind, body, soul, and environment.
Once, I knew a housewife that couldn’t find anything well in her house. She was very untidy and dirty. Do you think she could have a clean mind? Of course not. Her mind was as messy and dirty as her house.
From a Christian perspective, cleaning our house and mind may mean that we get ready to welcome Jesus who comes and visits us. Only with a clean mind we can elevate our spirit toward higher spheres.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
-The Vibrations of Words
Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THANKSGIVING DAY IN A CANADIAN MONASTERY

WP_20181009_003Today, October 8 is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. In the monastery where I am staying until Thursday, the Sisters decorated the chapel with the fruits of the Earth: pumpkins, squashes, ears of corn, onions, and so on.

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Our chef roasted two turkeys and baked a delicious pumpkin pie. As an exception, we had a glass of wine at lunch.
The whole weekend is Thanksgiving Day. One of the workers in the kitchen said that she celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, with thirty-five people in her small house!

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Some Canadians prefer to go for a hike and enjoy the special colors of the trees in this season.
In Canada, Thanksgiving Day is related to the traditional harvest festival. In a sense, it is different from that in The United States. The dates of the two celebrations don’t coincide, as well as their symbolic meanings.

In my hometown Enna, we have a few celebrations related to the harvest. Some of them date back to the time of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.

One day, I asked a friend of mine, “Can you imagine a world without celebrations and rites? Being outside rites means to be outside life.”

“I don’t think so. For me all days are the same,” he answered.
“How can you say that! Without rites there is no human life, indeed. Everyone conforms to festivity, celebrations and rites.”
“I am different from others. Getting over rites and rituals is my aim.”
“So, you don’t celebrate anything!”
“No, I don’t. Everyday I have a celebration in my heart. I am beyond rites and rituals,” he said.

On Thursday, I am leaving for Korea. There, I’ll find different traditions, but people’s heart doesn’t differ.

Ettore Grillo, author of
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.ettoregrillocom.wordpress.com
http://www.ettoregrillo.wordpress.com
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE HOLY WEEK IN ENNA

 

 

 

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THE HOLY WEEK IN ENNA

In Enna, on the occasion of the Holy Week, the Church of Saint Michael has been reopened to the public for a few days. It was a mosque until a few centuries ago. Later, it was converted into a Catholic church.

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During the Arab rule, which lasted about two centuries, Sicily was full of mosques. According to a historian, at that time there were more mosques in Palermo than in Istanbul.
Later, although there were many Catholics and also a few Muslim families, Enna was essentially pagan. The cult of the mother goddess Demeter and her daughter Kore was deep rooted in the hearts of the townspeople.
In 1412 the statue of the patron saint, Maria Santissima della Visitazione, came to Enna. Since then, the whole population has been Catholic.

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Although the Holy Week is a legacy of the Spanish rule in Sicily, some brotherhoods date back to the Nights Templar. One of these is the brotherhood of the Most Holy Savior, which was founded in 1261, before the Spaniards conquered Sicily.
The brethren who belong to the brotherhood of the Holy Savior have the privilege of carrying in procession on their shoulders the glass sarcophagus containing the wooden statue of dead Jesus.
In Enna, during the Holy Week, folklore and religiosity intertwine. It is a unique event that is worth seeing.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind

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