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Sicilian Life Style

Accustomed for centuries to the presence of innumerable foreign languages and cultures, Sicilians have absorbed such a myriad of uniquely blended traits, that writer Gesualdo Bufalino believed Sicilians suffered from an “excess of identity”, whose core is the extravagant belief that the world turns around Sicilian culture.

Tourist might consider this a kind of mistrust, a sort of arrogance towards foreign customs and cultures, and indeed there is an awful lot of Sicily that is still beyond tourists’ understanding. To have friends in Sicily is not merely a pleasure but a practical consideration. As it happens in Arab society, your friendships and acquaintances can make a difference, and an invitation to a Sicilian home should be considered as a real privilege.

Family remains of central importance in Sicilian society. Young Sicilians tend to live with their parents until their own marriage, a propension encouraged by the lack of affordable houses and well-paid jobs. The constant support of one’s family has its negative side. Young people fear the moment of separation and acquire suitable professional skills relatively late.

The centre of family is la madre, the Mother. She is held second only to Virgin Mary, who is incidentally believed to have been Sicilian; after all, the son she adored lived with her until he was 30, and when he was killed she maintained an air of dignifies composure!

It is difficult to describe Sicilian culture in brief, because there are huge differences between modern-minded city dwellers and traditionally conservative countryside people. Still, modern attitudes have begun to erode conservative traditions. In the larger university cities such as Palermo, Catania, Syracuse and Messina you will find a vibrant youth culture and most middle-class families enjoy a liberal lifestyle. Improvements in educational opportunities and changing attitudes have brought more and more women to search for a successful career while trying to play all “modern” roles of workers, mothers and lovers. Nevertheless, family and respectability are still a value for Sicilian people.

Ordinary life in Albergheria - Palermo

Playing 'Scopa'

Air drying in Enna

Sicilian 'Lapino'

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