As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
Hi. I'm not lucky enough to be Italian. But I'm helping my best friend research her family history. Unhappily her Italian-born grandparents never learned English and she never learned Italian so 90% of the traditions and lore they knew has been lost.
The last few days I've found her grandparents' marriage certificate as well as the certificates of their and their siblings' births in the Bucita frazione of San Fili, Cosenza, Calabria. We would love to learn about them!
If you know of any traditions from around this area, or from Italy in general, would you share them? My friend might hear something she's forgotten she knew. At the very least she would have something to tell her children about their ancestors. And we would love to learn about them!
One tradition I am living in the middle of right now is mourning. I know its stupid to bring up because its not the most pleasent but it is a tradition. My great grandparents were from Vasto so this might be just a Vastese tradition. There children are still alive and follow their traditions to this day. My father died last year and that whole side of the family followed the tradition of mourning for one year. Not just mourning, but meaning you dont celebrate any holidays for a solid year since the person died. No christmas trees, birthday cakes, sending out cards, Easter dinner, nothing.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing for the first time "Light in the Piazza" on the TCM channel. Although technically a drama, the movie which takes place in early 1960's Florence was great fun to watch, especially with a very young George Hamilton playing a lovestruck Florentine.
At one point, Rossano Brazzi as Signor Naccarelli, tells Olivia de Havilland that his wife will not be attending the football game with him because she is in mourning. Olivia's character says, "Oh, I'm very sorry" to which Signor Naccarelli replies, "No matter; her family in Naples is a large one - someone is always dying." The viewer is led to believe that Signora Naccarelli is thus forever "in mourning".
I like that custom of deep mourning. I'm glad you told us about it. It seems like it could give a person a year to meditate on what the loved one meant to those left behind -- time to focus on the grieving process before moving on.
I'll jump in with a Norwegian custom I know about, since none of my ancestry is Italian.
On a woman's wedding day in Sogn, Norway, she would wear a tall, glittering silver crown with many dangling silver ornaments. These crowns were expensive and usually only owned by wealthier families or churches who would lend them to ordinary brides. After the reception friends of the family and other well-wishers would escort the couple home. These friends would ring bells and sing songs along the way. Some of my ancestors could only find spouses of the their social class in other communities. In these cases the bell-ringing procession would travel by boat from the bride's community to the groom's community with the bride standing in the prow for everyone on shore to see. I have a photo of one of my ancestress' braudlaup in the years when the custom was dying out. She actually looks a little embarrassed by all the hoopla but procession members look very happy.
Dear Ann from what I see nobody mourns for long any more in Italy and certainly not in black either save for the throwback village inthe woods somewhere in Italy or am I just being a caustic New Yorker? =Peter=
I was just researching my genealogy recently. And, btw, when I asked Suanj for help, it was amazingly fast and accurate.
Be that as it may, something my father and I suspected seems to be true--there is a custom of naming the first born after the last dead guy.
When my great grandfather died (the one Suanj helped me find in Roccamandolfi), there was a slew of Josephs is our family, maybe 6 or so in a single generation, and there were certainly enough aunts, uncles and cousins to make that possible.
After my Grandfather died, there was a slew of Carls--My father, me and another cousin come to mind immediately. Subsequent, more Americanized generations did not keep this custom however.
I noticed there are common names all over the family tree--Thomas, Mary (and Marie), Lilly, Theresa, Joseph, Carl and Dorothy. I suspect that my great great grandfather, when i get around to researching that, will be named either Carlo, Tommaso, or Giuseppe.
Is this really a custom, or just something my family did?
My six brothers were all given traditional "American" names at bith, the only exception being myself who got stuck with Carmine (God, how I hated that name...).
My paternal grandfather, Giuiseppe, died while my mother was pregnant with her second child. By that time, the family had been in the US for more than 35 years, nonetheless, my brother Joesph was named in his honor.
My hobby is finding things. Having found most of my own, I am happy to help others find theirs. PM me!