Maju giuvini e beddu si ni veni,
ca i so jorna non scurano mai;
si l’ha scupato li so’ magazzeri,
e ni pò tutti scanzari di guai;
cantano l’aciduzzi, e ci cunveni,
fanu li nidi ‘ntra sipali e gai;
ora si cissirannu li me peni,
lu suli manna duci li so rai
May comes, young and beautiful,
as their days never become darker;
it managed all their mills,
so that it saves us from starving;
birds are singing, as they’re meant to,
building their nest on hedges and scrubs;
Now all of my sufferings will end,
the sun rises gently his light
(From Almanacco Popolare Palermitano)
Traditional saying of the month
ijiri all’Erba (go to Erba)
Erba was a city quarter of Palermo - now locates nearby Indipendenza Square -, particularly disreputable. Over there lots of prostitutes worked. That’s why, in sicilian dialect, “going to Erba” identify those who goes with bad pennies.
Seller peddler of the month
In english: “the jug fixer”. A Seller who passed in the streets of Palermo yelling “ammola cutiedda! Conzalemmi!” (Sharpen knifes! Fix jugs!), being noticed by all the women in the quarter. He was an expert artisan, able to fix ceramic or iron jugs.
Old-time traditions of May in Palermo
Firth of May’s Flying Demons
In may wind begins to blow warmly, as summer is going to come. In the past people thought that these warm winds were flying demons. In Bompietro (a little town at 106 kilometres from Palermo) they thought up a shelter from evil: on the firth of may everyone eats garlic, so that demons, as creatures of exquisite sense of smell, should run away from them.
31th of May : La notti di la Scèusa (Ascention’s night)
The origins of this night are not known, but they’re surely really ancients as the testimoniances arrived until today describe Palermo and Vittorio Emanuele boulevard when all the city town finished at Porta Nuova, beyond of that it was just land.
The 31 of May, at the sunset, it was possible to hear, all along Vittorio Emanuele boulevard, a clinking of sheepbell and lullaby: they were caused by the herd and the shepherds who guided it to the Foro Italico: they were going to the sea to wash sheeps.
Women knew this day ang get prepared: at their windows they put bowl full of water and rose petals, as they believed that all the water that night would be blessed. The morning after they would wash their face with the water of the bowl, indeed.
Once sheeps arrived at the sea, not only them would wash themselves: most of poor people would benefit from that holy night.
Did you like this? Let us know