Friday, November 02, 2007

I See Dead People—Seriously!

Today is "Giorno dei Morti" or "Day of the Dead" in Italy. Today, Italians remember their dead ancestors and visit their graves with flowers and candles. In the morning, children find presents brought to them by the dead. This tradition is a way of keeping the memory of the dead alive. Rather than fear death, Italians embrace the circle of life by passing on the connection with their ancestors to their children. This morning I found a new toy car from my ancestors—Grazie. Amo le macchina di gioco! When we were in Palermo a few weeks ago, we visited the Capuchin catacombs. Since today is the "Day of the Dead", I thought it would be a fitting day to tell you about it. Although morbid, it was fascinating to see more than 8,000 mummified bodies on display dating as far back as 1599. Many of the corpses still had hair and skin and some of them had jaws wide open as if they were screaming. It was pretty creepy. Perhaps the creepiest is the corpse of 2-year-old Rosalia, who died in 1920. She still appears so lifelike that locals call her "Sleeping Beauty". Rosalia's incredible preservation was done by a doctor who used a secret process which he never divulged before his death.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You didnt mention that I wussy'd out and told your parents I'd stay outside to watch the cars and dogs. When really I was just sker'd!! I couldn't believe it when you came outside and weren't screaming your little head off... You're a brave little boy Currier!!

Love, Knuckles!

The Elams said...

That is creepy - we visited them with Trotter one Halloween while we were stationed there. We still talk about how crazy it is! Nice pictures - I was to feraked out o take photos :-)

Swindells said...

That is so creppy. The little girl looks like she is just sleeping. I am amazd I can only imagine how it must of been in person.

Currier Quinn Balent said...

Knuckles,
Yeah, I didn't want to ruin your rep by revealing how much of a wimp you really are!

Elams,
I didn't take those pictures. No cameras were allowed as respect for the dead, but then they sold picture postcards on the way out! So respectful! :)

Michelle,
It was creepy in person. It was the perfect place to visit around Halloween.

sognatrice said...

And here I was going to praise your steady hand as well; anyway, not running out screaming is still pretty impressive ;)

Currier Quinn Balent said...

Sognatrice,
Yeah, I normally don't obey "no camera" rules, but I didn't want to upset the dead. These are scanned pics of postcards.

It actually was more interesting than scary. I suggest going if you ever make it down to Sicily.

Anonymous said...

I think you have such good culture. I wish you don't throw it away like my country people who call the spirit of our dead ones, "the demon". They say that they are children of Jesus Christ, but they throw away thier being. Don't be like my home people, you are on the right track. God bless that country.