Tags: ancestors, Carnival of Genealogy, famiglia, family, family history, Italy, Itri, love of family, memories
In Italy, All Saints Eve or Day of the Dead is day of remembrance and honoring the dead. There is some slight confusion or mingling of the two days – November 1st celebrates the saints and November 2nd is to actually honor the dead. I figured today I would explain to those not familiar with some of the Italian traditions about cemeteries in Italy. Land is at a premium in Italy – available land is needed for farms and housing. Each town though has a walled cemetery usually set outside the main part of town. Inside the walls of the cemetery are considered consecrated land having been blessed by the priest. There is usually an area where smaller metal or wooden crosses adorn the graves of those who cannot afford larger headstones. Headstones in Italy are often works of art with beautiful sculptures on them. Many also have an encased photograph of the deceased. The walls of the cemetery usually are also crypts for those who choose not to be buried in the ground. After approximately 20 years families will reuse the graves for others in the family. Bones of the buried are moved to what is called a bone room housed in the basement area of the chapel. This may seem morbid but is actually a matter of family honor. On this day once a year, everyone goes to the cemetery and honors their deceased ancestors! Flowers are everywhere including at the chapel. Families visit the graves often and bring flowers but this is a special day for everyone. Mass and prayers are offered up for all of the deceased. Sadly we Americans do not have anything of this nature and it is a shame. Our children are not taught to remember those who have gone before us. There is not an emphasis put on valuing what our ancestors did for us. In a land such as Italy where children understand that land and homes have passed from generation to generation, children learn of the sacrifices of their ancestors on behalf of family. It is the respect for family and history that endears Italy to so many of us. It is the call upon many of us to want to return to this sense of family and remembering with pride and gratitude that we understand forms the underpinnings of a civilization that will survive instead of merely exist until something else comes along to replace it.
So it was for me as my mother in law accepted and welcomed me to her family. I was never treated as only a daughter in law but I was loved as a daughter, a member of the family! Of course family has disagreements and times of strife but they are always family, always there to help, to liten, to offer advicde, to love! Famiglia!
Tags: Carnival of Genealogy, famiglia, memories, photographs, WWII
Tags: ancestors, Carnival of Genealogy, famiglia, family, family history, Itri, love of family
Francesco’s Walk Home
Francesco (my father in law) would work all day on the farm and then make the long walk home by the town cemetery back to town. As a good Catholic, he would always remove his hat out of respect when passing the cemetery. He would replace it when he had passed. One night he was especially tired and almost dragging himself home. In his exhaustion he forgot to remove his cap in front of the cemetery. Suddenly something or someone knocked the hat from his head. There was no wind and he was sure he felt someone. He picked his cap up off the road and looked around but no one was there. He waited to replace it until well past the cemetery. When he arrived home he began to tell his wife until he realized everyone was very upset. Concetta’s brother Luigi had died suddenly, the victim of an accident at the sand quarry where he worked. Who or what was after his attention that night as he went past the cemetery? Francesco insisted it was poor Luigi.
Tags: Carnival of Genealogy, Italy, Itri, photographs, ramblings
Tomba di Cicero, Itri, Italy
Legend claims this as the tomb of Ciero but although he was there, it is not generally believed he is actually buried there! However it is a fascinating place!
Tags: ancestors, famiglia, family research, genealogy, photographs, WWII
In honor of Tombstone Tuesday here in Genealogy Blog-ville, and in honor of A. Coffin’s blog (great reading I might add!) at We Tree I am posting just a few photos of graveyards in Italy. It is interesting how the Italians have compensated for lack of available ground to bury their dead. Aside from the wall crypts, they also have chapels in each cemetery where after so many years, they remove the bones from graves and transfer them to bone rooms under the chapels. This too is consecrated area and where families place flowers and say prayers. Sadly the result is that not enough of the old graves exist for families to use then to track their ancestors. Records of those graveyards tend to also not be complete.