"Si bedda commu u suli. A ma vita fussi vacanti senza ri tia!"

Tag: Religion Page 1 of 2

Saint Agata festivities in Catania

Saint Agata is the most important celebration for Catanesi, the celebrate their city’s saint. Every year also a public function gets honored with Candelora D’oro for their important work, and this year is was the fire fighters. We were invited by the mayor to see the honor price to be received by the fire fighters the 2nd of February. That night they also leave flowers to the saint at main church. The 3rd of February we were invited again to the municipality to see fireworks and for some drinks and finger foods. After that we left for another invitation to Agata Terrazze where we could see the fireworks for Saint Agata better.

More photos and video after the Swedish text.

Svenska

Helgonet Agata ?r det viktigaste firandet f?r Catanesi, de firar deras stadshelgon. Varje ?r hedras ocks? en offentlig funktion med Candelora D’oro f?r deras viktiga arbete, och i ?r var det brandm?nnen. Vi blev inbjudna av borgm?staren att se hederspriset tas emot av brandm?nnen den 2 februari. Den natten l?mnar de ocks? blommor till helgonet vid huvudkyrkan. Den 3 februari blev vi inbjudna igen till kommunen f?r att se fyrverkerier och f?r lite drinkar och sm?plock. Efter det ?kte vi till en annan inbjudan till Agata Terrazze d?r vi kunde se fyrverkerierna f?r Helgonet Agata b?ttre.

 

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Then the festivities ended from my part, had to leave for work in Germany.


Och d?r tog firandet f?r mig slut d? jag reste till Tyskland f?r arbete.

 

Syracuse – the beauty of Piazza Duomo

One of the most beautiful baroque piazzas in Italy is Piazza Duomo in Ortigia, Syracuse. A rectangular piazza surrounded by flamboyant palaces.? Here you find the extraordinary main church and the church of Santa Lucia, which is important for us Swedes.

The main church of Ortigia has not much left from the Greek era than couple of Doric columns in the facade, but is worth a visit. It’s dedicated to Athena and is part of the UNESCO heritage list. Usually when you seen one baroque church, you have seen them all, but this main church is very different. Its style is mainly Baroque and Rococo on the outside, inside has parts dating back to the Siceliot epoch, and parts dating back to medieval times, built by the Normans and thus left until the present day. Its internal structure is composed of several naves and chapels, which have a classic and decorated style, typical of the Baroque too. The site of the church dates back as far as year 700 B.C, but the church was complete 1753.

By the main church is the Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia, an important church for us Swedes as we celebrate Saint Lucia the same time as in Sicily. Here you find the original masterpiece from Caravaggio, Il seppellimento di Santa Lucia (Burial of St Lucy). It’s painted in Syracuse between 1608 and 1609.

Svenska

En av de vackraste barock piazzorna i Italien ?r Piazza Duomo i Ortigia, Sirakusa. En rektangul?r piazza omgiven av flambojanta palats. H?r hittar du den extraordin?ra huvudkyrkan och kyrkan Santa Lucia, vilken ?r viktig f?r oss svenskar.

Ortigias huvudkyrka har inte mycket kvar fr?n den grekiska eran ?n n?gra doriska kolonner i fasaden, men ?r v?rt ett bes?k. Den ?r till?gnad Athena och ing?r i UNESCOs v?rldsarvslista. Vanligtvis n?r man sett en barockkyrka har man sett dem alla, men den h?r huvudkyrkan ?r v?ldigt annorlunda. Dess stil ?r fr?mst barock och rokoko p? utsidan, inuti delar som g?r tillbaka till Siceliotiden och delar som g?r tillbaka till medeltiden, byggda av normannerna och d?rmed kvar tills idag. Dess interna struktur best?r av flera navar och kapeller, som har en klassisk och dekorerad stil, som ?r typisk f?r barocken. Kyrkans plats dateras s? l?ngt som ?r 700 B.C, men nuvarande kyrkan var f?rdig 1753.

Vid huvudkyrkan finns Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia, en viktig kyrka f?r oss svenskar d? vi firar Santa Lucia samtidigt som p? Sicilien. H?r hittar du det ursprungliga m?sterverket fr?n Caravaggio, Il seppellimento di Santa Lucia (Begravningen av Santa Lucia). Den m?lades i Sirakusa mellan 1608 och 1609.

Visit Catania – The Monastry of “Benedettini”

This is one of the most powerful places to visit in Catania. Impressive construction by tons of stone that created the Benedettini Monastry and church. It has been closed for many years, but now open daily from 9am to 5pm. You find it at Piazza Dante, just a 15 minute walk from Via Etna (central baroque shopping street). It is protected by UNESCO as here you find unique cloisters, roman style house, roof garden, impressive architecture in late sicilian baroque style and detailed stone handy craft. Take the guided tour, it is just couple of euros.

Svenska

Detta ?r en av de mest kraftfulla platserna att bes?ka i Catania. Imponerande konstruktion av ton av sten som skapade Benedettini Monastry och kyrkan. Den har varit st?ngd i m?nga ?r, men nu ?ppen dagligen fr?n 9:00 till 17:00. Du hittar den p? Piazza Dante, bara 15 minuters promenad fr?n Via Etna (centrala barock shoppinggatan). Skyddad av UNESCO d?r du finner unikt kloster, typiskt romerskt hus, taktr?dg?rd, imponerande arkitektur i sen siciliansk barockstil och detaljerad stenhantverk. Ta g?rna den guidad rundturen, det kostar bara n?gra euro.

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Building started year 1500 and was planned to be the largest monastry in Europe. The Monastry has been destroyed several times due to natural causes; lava eruption 1669 and Sicily’s worst earthquake 1693. The reconstruction started 1702 and many monks moved here. The reconstruction was following the original plan for the monastry and finally became the largest in Europe.


Byggandet startade ?r 1500 och var planerad att bli det st?rsta monastriet i Europa. Monastriet har f?rst?rts flera g?nger p? grund av naturliga orsaker; lava utbrott 1669 och Siciliens v?rsta jordb?vning 1693. Rekonstruktionen b?rjade 1702 och m?nga munkar flyttade hit. Rekonstruktionen f?ljde den ursprungliga planen f?r monastriet och blev ?ntligen den st?rsta i Europa.

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Every second sunday each month you can also enjoy a visit to an organic market held in the Benedettini gardens. Open 9:30 am to 1:30pm. Only local organic produce; vegetables, fruits, beauty products, vine, tea, beer, cheeses and much more.


Den andra s?ndagen varje m?nad kan du ocks? njuta av ett bes?k p? ekologisk marknaden som h?lls i Benedettini-tr?dg?rden. ?ppen 9:30 till 1:30. Endast lokala ekologiska praodukter; gr?nsaker, frukt, sk?nhetsprodukter, vin, te, ?l, ost och mycket mer.

 

Webiste: The Benedictine Monastery of Catania

Are Sicilians religious?

In public opinion I live in a very religious area, a catholic area. But in real life, are sicilians religious? My immediate reaction is No! By heart no, but by presence yes. This meaning that most people here are very much involved with church activities by masses, choir singing, sports, christmas activities like Presepe Vivente (living Joseph, Maria and bady Jesus in stable), spreading palm leaves for Easter and so on. Church is also a meeting point for many house wives and if you get married most people still chooses church wedding by tradition, even if civil marriages are increasing. Children are baptized because it is still something you do. Catholism is teached at school and in every public office, post, police, municipalities, hospitals ecc, you find a cross. People even have pictures of saints in their car to protect them in traffic, Padre Pio, but then you see children jump in the car, using no seat belts, in 140 km/hour. You find statues of Holy Mary in many house corners and walls and every city celebrates its own saint.

By heart sicilians are not in general religious. Most do not follow Jesus foot steps and cities like Catania is rated as a city where most people cheat on their partner…in whole Italy. I have in ten years met one true catholic who was also a priest. He had the respect for atheists and was very frank on church traditions admitting that many of them are just traditions and nothing to do with christianity. But he lived as much as he could following Jesus foot steps. He seemed to have peace in his heart and was an amazing person. By personal experience I have met people who uses religion when it suits them, in my case often to shame me. Women who shame me not being married and having kids (often the older generation) or when religious days come and most end in euphoria they often ask How I can cope with life not being part of these traditions, it must be lonely? Some even shaming me having my family far away.

There are som religious expressions used in life happenings like Santo Cielo! = Oh My God! that with direct translation would be Holy Sky!, or Porca Eva! / Porco Guida! = God Damn! that with direct translation is Shitty Eva! / Shitty Judas!, meaning when something is really bad and by Bible stories we learn that Eva deceived Adam and Judas deceived Jesus.

Just because Sicily is known to be a religious area does not mean you find more morality here or honesty. I would say it is the opposite. Sicily still has very much Omerta and things You Do Not Talk About. Cheating, lying, frauds, violence is a much present here as anywhere else. Religion seems to be for many a gate-way to have in reserve if…. Things are though changing fast in Italy as the church complains that they have fever priests and churches are empty (article 28 Marzo 2017, in italian) . Most people around me whispers they are atheists or fascinated bu buddism, but go to church the most important days to please their mother or for the beautiful traditions. Generation gap.

LivingInSicilyBlog

Svenska

I den allm?nna opinionen bor jag i ett mycket religi?st omr?de, ett katolskt omr?de. Men i verkligheten ?r sicilianare religi?sa? Min omedelbara reaktion ?r Nej! Av hj?rtat nej, men genom n?rvaro ja. Det inneb?r att de flesta m?nniskor h?r ?r mycket engagerade i kyrkans aktiviteter med m?ssor, k?rs?ng, sport, julaktiviteter som Presepe Vivente (levande Josef, Maria och Baby Jesus i stall), sprida palmblad till p?sk och s? vidare. Kyrkan ?r ocks? en m?tesplats f?r m?nga hemmafruar och om du gifter dig v?ljer de flesta fortfarande kyrkbr?llop enligt tradition, ?ven om de civila ?ktenskapen ?kar. Barn d?ps f?r att det fortfarande ?r n?got du g?r. Katolismen l?rs i skolan och i alla offentliga lokaler, post, polis, kommuner, sjukhus ecc hittar du ett kors. M?nniskor har ?ven bilder av helgon i sin bil f?r att skydda dem i trafiken, Padre Pio, men sen ser du att barn hoppar i bilen, utan bilb?lten, i 140 km / timmen. Du hittar statyer av Heliga Maria i m?nga hush?rn och v?ggar, och varje stad firar sin egen helgon vilket ofta ?r stadens h?jdpunkt.

I hj?rtat ?r inte sicilianare i allm?nhet religi?sa. De flesta f?ljer inte Jesus fotsteg, och t.ex. Catania ?r rankad som den stad d?r de flesta ?r otrogna mot sin partner … i hela Italien. Jag har under tio ?r tr?ffat en sann katolik som ocks? var pr?st. Han hade respekt f?r ateister och var mycket uppriktig om kyrkans traditioner och medgav att m?nga av dem bara ?r traditioner och inget att g?ra med kristendomen. Men han levde s? mycket som han kunde f?ljandes Jesu fotsteg. Han verkade ha fred i sitt hj?rta och var en fantastisk person. Genom personlig erfarenhet har jag tr?ffat m?nniskor som anv?nder religion n?r det passar dem, i mitt fall ofta f?r att sk?mma mig. Kvinnor som sk?mmer p? mig att jag inte ?r gift och har barn (ofta den ?ldre generationen) eller n?r religi?sa dagar kommer och de flesta hamnar i eufori, fr?gar de ofta hur jag kan hantera livet, inte vara en del av dessa traditioner, det m?ste vara ensamt? N?gra sk?mmer mig ?ven f?r att ha min familj l?ngt borta.

Det finns som religi?sa uttryck som anv?nds i livets h?ndelser som Santo Cielo! = Herregud!, med direkt ?vers?ttning skulle vara Helig Himmel!, eller Porca Eva! / Porco Guida! = Helvetes Fan!, med direkt ?vers?ttning ?r Gris Eva! / Gris Judas!, Vilket betyder n?r n?got ?r riktigt d?ligt, via bibeln ber?ttas att Eva lurade Adam och Judas bedrog Jesus.

Bara f?r att Sicilien ?r k?nt att vara ett religi?st omr?de betyder inte att du hittar mer moral h?r eller ?rlighet. Jag skulle s?ga att det ?r motsatsen. Sicilien har fortfarande mycket Omerta och saker du inte pratar om. Fusk, l?gn, bedr?geri, v?ld ?r lika mycket n?rvarande h?r som n?gon annanstans. Religion verkar vara f?r m?nga en gate-way att ha i reserv om …. Saker f?r?ndras ?nd? snabbt i Italien, eftersom kyrkan klagar p? att de har f?rre pr?ster och kyrkorna ?r tomma (artikel 28 Marzo 2017, p? italienska). De flesta runt omkring mig viskar att de ?r ateister eller fascinerade av buddism, men g?r till kyrkan de viktigaste dagarna f?r att behaga sin mamma eller f?r de vackra traditionerna. Generationsgap.

The Cathedral where the dome collapsed

The cathedral of Noto, San Nicolo, is one of the most beautiful churches in Sicily. Built in baroque style with light colors. The construction started 1694 och was finished 1703. The earthquake in december 1990 caused some structural damages, but the cathedral was restored. Due to defects in the restoring work the dome collapsed march 1996. The right pillar that supported the dome weakened and started to crumble because during restoring the earthquake damages, wrong material was used for the pillars to support the dome. Instead of blocks of stone the pillars were filled with sacks contaning river stones that caused weakness to hold the dome. Fortunately there were no victims, because the church was not open to the public that time.

Svenska

Katedralen i Noto, San Nicolo, ?r en av de vackraste kyrkorna p? Sicilien. Byggd i barockstil med ljusa f?rger. Konstruktionen startade 1694 och blev f?rdig 1703. Jordb?vningen i december 1990 orsakade vissa strukturella skador men katedralen ?terst?lldes. P? grund av brister i ?terst?llningsarbetet rasade kupolen mars 1996. Den h?gra pelaren som st?dde kupolen f?rsvagades och b?rjade smulas s?nder pga att under reparationen av jordb?vningsskadorna anv?ndes fel material f?r att pelarna skulle kunna st?dja kupolen. I st?llet f?r stenblock fylldes pelarna med s?ckar av flodstenar som orsakade svaghet f?r att h?lla kupolen. Lyckligtvis drabbades ingen f?r kyrkan var inte ?ppen f?r allm?nheten den tiden.

LivingInSicilyBlog

The facade has typical “two side towers” from the baroque era which can also be found on the church of Versailles and similar engravings of the Saint Roch church in Paris.

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Fasaden har “tv? sidotorn” typiska fr?n barocktiden, som ?ven finns p? Versailles kyrka och liknande gravyr i Saint Roch-kyrkan i Paris.

LivingInSicilyBlog

Walk up to Santuario Madonna della Rocca

From Taormina city you can take the stairs up the hill to Santuario Madonna della Rocca. It is the stone buildings you see from Corso Umberto above Taormina. You find the stairs by the Q8 gas station. Do note it is thousands of steps combined with breathtaking views. This small church is built during the arab-norman era in Sicily and located 398 m a.s.l. Every year the third weekend in September festivities are organized to celebrate the Madonna. It is one of the most important religious happenings in Taormina.
We took a walk up there, all the stairs.

Svenska

Fr?n Taormina stad kan du ta trapporna uppf?r berget till Santuario Madonna della Rocca. Det ?r stenbyggnaderna du ser fr?n Corso Umberto ovanf?r Taormina. Du hittar trapporna vid Q8 bensinstation. Notera att det ?r tusentals trappsteg i kombination med hisnande vyer. Denna lilla kyrka ?r byggd under arabisk-normandiska eran p? Sicilien och ligger 398 m.?.h.. Varje ?r den tredje helgen i september ordnas festligheter f?r att fira Madonnan. Det ?r en av de viktigaste religi?sa h?ndelserna i Taormina.
Vi tog en promenad upp dit, alla trapporna.

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View down to Taormina on the way up? //? Vy ner till Taomina p?v?g upp

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View south coast towards Giardini-Naxos bay? // S?dra kusten, vy mot Giardini-Naxos vik

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Interview for Multicoolty Italia – translation to english

Some time ago I was interviewed for Multicoolty Italia. They do an amazing job interviewing expats all around the world, but with main focus on foreigners in Italy. You find the interview in italian here: ?La Mia Vita e’ piu ricca oggi

Please like their page here:?https://www.facebook.com/multicoolty.italia/?fref=ts

Translation in English

“Today my Life is Richer”

My name is Johanna, I come from Sweden but in my veins runs finnish blood. I’m in Italy, Sicily, since 2009. Self-employeed in the organic sector in agriculture and tourism. I’m preparing two new activities and also started writing books.
Why Italy?
I wanted a real challenge in life and Sicily seemed to be the right place. I’d say that I got what I asked for and even more. In Sicily, learned a lot about life seen from a different perspective and learned even more about myself. I chose Sicily because I saw Inspector Montalbano in Sweden and fell in love with the beautiful things I saw, the area of Ragusa! Then I moved there as a start.
What was it like to learn Italian?
Easy because the grammar is very similar to finnish. But I’ll never speak perfect Italian because I speak different languages every day. I learned it myself: with the magazines that interest me and talking to people. Sicilians are great because they correct me if I’m wrong. So you learn quickly. Then it took me a bit ‘of time to understand that here they speak Sicilian, which is very different from Italian. I was a bit’ confused at first.
Do you think that speaking Italian living in Italy is important?
It’s essential wherever you decide to live. Otherwise you never know how a country functions and you will always have problems if you don’t understand people. Also for the respect of the new country you have to learn.
Which problems did you meet when you arrived in Italy?
Everything, because the system and the life in Sicily is totally the opposite from Sweden. It worries me to see that the local people don’t want to know their rights and duties. Often we foreigners learn the system better, so you can also protect yourself against a corrupt system and know how to get around.
What do you like about Italy?
Here I learned to value things. In Sweden we have an incredible consumerism, buy and throw away. Here I learned the value of money and saving, because I saw true poverty. I like the people, they are very kind to us foreigners. I like the sun, the food, the Sicilian mountains and the rich history. Here I also started to appreciate Sweden and understand how lucky we are there. There you go blind because you live in the system and everything goes smoothly. Here I learned to fight, to defend myself, I lost my swedish naivity because the world is not as at home.
What do you don’t like?
I don’t like the church and the family system, two structures that destroy the person from the first day. I don’t like ignorance, laziness and how people mistreat their own land, a land so beautiful. Here often lacks the grit, perhaps because of the “mammismo”, children do not learn to fight the system nor to stand on their feet. Not everybody, but many.
What about the Italians?
The people are very kind to us foreigners. You laugh a lot with the Sicilians. When they trust, you begin to meet fantastic people. Very easy to work here with men. I didn’t have “classical” problems so far and I don’t think there will ever be. The Sicilians give you everything when they see you do something for their territory.
One thing that makes me tired is that people always want to give advice and sometimes men don’t understand a No!! Ignorance and mammismo does so much damage. The phenomenon of the “Italian mama’s boy” is famous all over the world, but I couldn’t imagine so alarming. Double-sided, one side out and another behind and hidden. Difficult to have female friends here. I have only two after 7 years !! Often they not even greet. I believe that women learn that other women are rivals or something similar.
Have you ever had an experience of “racism” in Italy?
Only once I have heard a man complain about immigrants, but it’s very rare in Sicily. Sicilians do much for immigrants and it’s a shame that they are left alone. Against me ever, only some women give bad comments because they often think bad of us foreign women, but I don’t consider it as real “racism”. Only that they don’t know what the world is like.
What surprises you about the Italian culture?
Ignorance towards the environment, neighbors and themselves. Parents teach their children that everything is the fault of politicians, so take away their hope for the future at the beginning. Then they see us foreigners do many things here and don’t understand how it is possible.
True religions here are football and food. Still don’t understand how you can eat so much: I once tried to eat as the Sicilians and will not do that again, it was an experience close to death.
Patience to the incorrectness in society. Why don’t the people rebel? The Sicilians always want to help foreigners, this is a very nice thing.
What did you have to give up when you moved in Italy?
Ever ything in my life: the family is far away, good salary, house, career etc. But it was worth it, because the things that I know now, I would not have been able to learn otherwise. My life is richer today.
You feel “integrated” in Italian society?
Yes, immediately. It’s easy to integrate into society. It all depends on yourself. You have to go out, be curious, the phone doesn’t ring … you have to make calls at the beginning. I’m a very open person, I get in touch with people wherever I go.
How has your lifestyle changed in Italy?
I live a very Scandinavian style, otherwise I’d go back in time. I put some things of Sicilian culture in my life: relax more, eat healthier, give time to people, greet the neighbors etc. The world circles even if I don’t answer the phone. Here I learned lots of patience, because if the road is broken you go another day or do a longer ride. Here it doesn’t work as in Sweden and if you live here to wait for a change, life will become very difficult. You have to take Sicily as it is and create your reality as you want.
Do you like italian food?
Sicilian cuisine is one of the best and healthiest in the world. The first year I gained almost 10 kg, but I was happy because I was too skinny before. I love to eat and I turn off the phone during lunch and dinner.
In Italy, do you eat Italian food or continue to eat the food from your country?
I eat foods from around the world. I grew up that way. Thanks to Ikea, and the Internet I can send things here. Then also my family and friends bring swedish foods.
What did you think of Italy and Italians before moving?
Now Italy is well known in the world, but Sicily was different. There isn’t much information online. I didn’t think so much, just threw myself in the system and in society. I took things as they came: good things and bad, then I made my way.
Do you think you will return to your country of origin?
Yes, at least half time. I’m working to be able to live in Sicily and also in Northern Europe. I want to do things for my country and I have a couple of ideas. Then I’d like to create a family and Scandinavia would be the place.
What do you miss most about your country?
A system that works. People smiling on the streets. Sweden doesn’t lack anything and you can find anything you can imagine. I miss female friends and public offices who answer the phone. Cleanliness, respect for others and a strong people. Men with whom you can have an intelligent conversation without trying more … not all are like that, but many. True love that isn’t meant to “settle down well.”
Which stereotype of Italians has been confirmed?
Hospitality, playful, great eaters. Difficult mother-in-laws, crazy I would say. Machismo ridiculous.
Do you think the multicultural society can exist?
Multiculturalism exists since the time of the vikings, we have always been great travelers. In Sicily passes and people living from around the world, since the times of the greeks Sicily was multicultural. Everybody has been and passed here. So, what more has to be done?
The modern model of multiculturalism they want to create now I don’t think will work, because it has no human purpose, but only the interests of politicians and corporations. In Italy there are other things to be resolved before we talk about multiculturalism.
What is “multiculturalism” for you?
How was the ancient Rome; every religion/culture was next to each other and each one took care of their business. Then something very bad happened. In Sweden we had a nice multiculturalism only 10 years ago, but now we use ridiculous words as “racism” and “phobia” if officially you say that you don’t support Islam. But things are changing. In multiculturalism everything must be told, criticized and respected … otherwise it is not.
Multiculturalism exists in your country of origin?
Before yes, but today not entirely. If you want to know the modern trends and political intentions for the future it is good follow Sweden because from there begins all things new and crazyness. There you must live with a “cold head”. We already have the third sex in the system and now trying to find new words to describe female masturbation. A country very interesting I think. You have to be very open.
Why are some Italians afraid of strangers?
If we talk about what is happening today, I do not think it’s fear. They just want to protect their culture and origins, that is ok. The world is varied and colorful, that why it is nice. We can not say to a people to give up their native only to insert a new one. The new is welcome, but must live together with what already exists. Then with time everything will be adjusted without us having to force things, with respect and love, you can create many things.
What do you think of the relationship in the mixed couples?
For me it is very difficult here in Sicily. Many men / families are not accustomed to a woman to be independent, to have an opinion, who can repair the car and build a house, comes and goes as she wishes etc. For me it was very difficult, I left it and put focus on northern European. My experiences are not positive. They don’t hate me as a person, but they don’t know how to handle my freedom. In Sicily things are changing; young people have traveled and speaks English. They’re often more open and “modern”.
What differences are there between Swedish and Italian culture?
In almost all. Sicily already in general is different from Milan. Milan is more “German” while Sicily is still very “Arab”. Scandinavia is seen as the best area in the world where to be born and grow up, and I agree. We’re secular, but there’s a lot of tolerance for other cultures and religions, in Sicily it’s more difficult because for example the Vatican stops development. Here as a foreigner it’s good to be in tourist areas because the locals are “accustomed”.
Between Sicily and Scandinavia everything is different; as we talk, eat, think, how you do things, the environment, animals, family, respect, civility, men, women, traffic, the behavior …
Drive through Catania and see how they park the car, and then go to Ikea and see cars in a perfect row. I always laugh about this. Everything depends of the “management”.

 

It was in Sicily I became an atheist

I have never thought about religion as much as here in Sicily. Religion is involved everywhere you go. In the hospital, in every corner there is a church, people trying to push catholism on me, post office, sport, school, especially in the family and much more. On paper Italy is seen as a secular country, but in reality it isn’t. Now living in Sicily religion has became an issue in my life, an issue I have to deal with almost on daily bases. Some people abroad, especially americans and catholic irish people gladly say that living in Sicily as an atheist is not a great choice and you should move. Have they been here? No. To think that there are no atheists in Sicily is quite naive. First years I did not say I was an atheist because I did not knew there were so many here, but then when I started to say it in public I got amazed how many here are. Some are openly and some are atheists in disguise not creating problems in their families; e.g. pleasing their mother being a catholic. Hubby does not believe and does not go to church (not even for family affairs), but to keep his family calm who are super religious he does not feel the need to tell them. They know I am an atheist and finally left me alone.

In Sweden it is easy to be religious because the church does not effect your daily life. Church is seen as a nice thing, but this definitive belief in hell and heaven is quite rare. Religion is a non issue few people talk about and you can belong to any religion you like. I was in fact myself part of a religious group because it was nice to have “incase of” back up and I never felt the need to decide black on white what and if I believed or not. But when I moved to Sicily I became a 100% atheist and left also the religious group I was part of. This mental change and facing the church so present in a society made me first angry and confused because I did not know exactly what I was experiencing and meet people who really believes that God will punish them in hell was so unreal. E.g. this hate against different sexuality, not showing respect to other religions and non-believers, and afraid of dying is quite much to take as a foreigner who never really thought about these things. Joking about death is not okay. I still have hard times to understand many families choises that a church exam is more important than regular school for their kids, I do not think I can ever melt that!

I finally found one book that writes about this. It is an american who lived in Scandinavia for over an year to understand how one area in the world can be successful without a God involved in the society. It is a serious research book with statistics and comparisons to the very religious american society, which I can relate to Italy. The book is called Society without God! written by Phil Zuckerman. He may have a little bit too romanticized view of Scandinavia, but in total he has got a very good view about our society. It was also nice to find a story I could relate too, about a dane who was in the religious grey zone not knowing what and if he believes. And then lived in California for a while that made him an atheist.

There is not much research about this topic, basically none, but this book is a great start! Here I have understood that if you never lived in a real secular society, you do not know what freedom is. Things are slowly also changing here, but religion is still a big piece to handle.

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Svenska

Jag har aldrig t?nkt p? religion s? mycket som h?r p? Sicilien. Religionen ?r inblandad ?verallt. P? sjukhuset, i varje h?rn finns en kyrka, m?nniskor som f?rs?ker trycka katolismen p? mig, posten, sport, skolan, s?rskilt i familjen och mycket mer. P? papperet ses Italien som ett sekul?rt land, men i verkligheten ?r det inte. Nu boendes p? Sicilien har religionen blivit ett problem i mitt liv, en fr?ga som jag m?ste ta itu med n?stan p? daglig basis. Vissa m?nniskor utomlands, s?rskilt amerikaner och katolska irl?ndska folket s?ger g?rna att leva p? Sicilien som ateist ?r inte ett smart val och du b?r flytta. Har de varit h?r? Nej. Att tro att det inte finns n?gra ateister p? Sicilien ?r ganska naivt. F?rsta ?ret sa jag inte att jag var ateist eftersom jag inte visste att det fanns s? m?nga h?r, men sen n?r jag b?rjade s?ga det offentligt blev jag f?rv?nad ?ver hur m?nga som ?r. Vissa ?r ?ppet och vissa ?r ateister i hemlighet f?r att inte skapar problem i sina familjer; t.ex. gl?dja deras mor att vara katolik. F?stman tror inte och g?r inte i kyrkan (inte ens f?r familjefr?gor), utan f?r att h?lla sin familj lugn, som ?r superreligi?s, k?nner han inte behovet av att ber?tta f?r dem. De vet att jag ?r ateist och ?ntligen l?mnat mig ifred.

I Sverige ?r det l?tt att vara religi?s eftersom kyrkan inte p?verkar ditt dagliga liv. Kyrkan ses som en bra sak, men den definitiva tron p? helvetet och himlen ?r ganska ovanligt. Religionen ?r en icke fr?ga f? m?nniskor talar om och du kan tillh?ra vilken religion du vill. Jag var faktiskt sj?lv en del av en religi?s grupp eftersom det var trevligt att ha “ifall att” back up och jag k?nde aldrig behovet att besluta svart p? vitt vad och om jag trodde eller inte. Men n?r jag flyttade till Sicilien blev jag 100% ateist och l?mnade ocks? den religi?sa grupp som jag var en del av. Denna mentala f?r?ndring och ha kyrkan s? n?rvarande i ett samh?lle gjorde mig f?rst arg och f?rvirrad eftersom jag inte visste exakt vad jag upplevde, och tr?ffa m?nniskor som verkligen tror att Gud kommer att straffa dem i helvetet var s? overkligt. T.ex. detta hat mot olika sexualiteter, inte visa respekt f?r andra religioner och icke-troende, och r?dd f?r att d? ?r ganska mycket att ta som en utl?nning som aldrig riktigt t?nkt p? dessa saker. Att sk?mta om d?den ?r inte okej. Jag har fortfarande sv?rt f?r att f?rst? m?nga familjer som tycker att en kyrkans examen ?r viktigare ?n vanlig skola f?r sina barn, jag tror inte att jag n?gonsin kan sm?lta det!

Jag fann ?ntligen en bok som skriver om detta. Det ?r en amerikan som bodde i Skandinavien ?ver ett ?r f?r att f?rst? hur ett omr?de i v?rlden kan lyckas utan en Gud som deltar i samh?llet. Det ?r en seri?s forskningsbok med statistik och j?mf?relser till mycket religi?sa amerikanska samh?llet, som jag kan relatera till Italien. Boken heter Society without God! skriven av Phil Zuckerman. Han kan ha lite f?r romantiserad bild av Skandinavien, men totalt har han f?tt en mycket bra uppfattning om v?rt samh?lle. Det var ocks? trevligt att hitta en ber?ttelse som jag kunde relatera till, om en dansk som var i den religi?sa gr?zonen utan att veta vad och om han tror. Sedan bodde i Kalifornien ett tag som gjorde honom till en ateist.

Det finns inte mycket forskning om detta ?mne, i princip ingen, men denna bok ?r en bra start! H?r har jag f?rst?tt att om du aldrig bott i ett riktig sekul?rt samh?lle, kan du inte veta vad frihet ?r. Saker och ting f?r?ndras l?ngsamt ?ven h?r, men religion ?r fortfarande en stor bit att hantera.

Pic of The Week: “God doubles for you all the goodness you wish for me”

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Feminism and Sicily…

– I apoligize to Swedes not translating this post, it is quite long. Pls use Google –

Feminism is a topic I never talk about with sicilians, especially not with sicilian women because the reaction is like you brought somekind of evil spirits in the room. And there are modern sicilian indipendent women, even if they still are quite few. And men here knows that I can take care of myself and I have no problems with them at all. To the contrary what some media information wants us to believe. Sicilian men in general are very kind and wants well. But many times they are kinda lost and treated badly.

Well, sometimes documentaries are released about the horrible life sicilian women have and how terrible these sicilian macho men are and treating women as shit. I hate these documentaries simply because they do not tell the whole truth. Of course there are shitty men here as in any other countries, but there are shitty women too. Some swedish women asks sometimes why I do not get involved or start somekind of a women movement in Sicily and I can understand them from the swedish point of view. But I will never do it. And there are many reasons why. Just the words “anti”, “fight against”, “pro this” etc makes my skin shiver because these fights rarely leads somewhere.

First: the saying that “Women who do not help other women has a special place in hell” does not mean that stronger women should carry and take life responsability of other women. It does not mean either that stronger women should turn their backs on women in need. For me it means to be a support for women who really wants and works for to get an indipendency or get away from a bad relationship and other issues. But the work is hers.

Second: women in Sicily has everything served. Loans, funds, tax reductions as entrepreneurs, education packages etc for much better conditions than for men. In Sweden we do not have anything similar. There is nothing legal that stops women to stand on their own two feets, infact it is the opposite. But the law says also that when a woman gets married and have kids, she is guaranteed for the rest of her life a economical support and the home as long as the youngest child is 18 years old. And this even if they get divorced. So it is very easy to become lazy as a woman in Italy. There you may also get a hint of one of the reasons for so many female murders in Italy. How would you feel as an ex-wife having the legal must to support your ex-husband if you divorce him, and then also loose your home? And perhaps get the right to see yuor kids 24 hours a week? Of course there is no law for women to do this. Women here has started to scream for justice, but not changing the law. So eat the cake and have the cake the same time? Now some prenups starts to pop up, instead of forcing the husband to sign over all property to his father. I get so many times the question why I do not marry a rich sicilian man, then I can relax the rest of my life. Marry for money? Not for me. I could never put myself in a situation to ask for money and permession all the time from a man or from any other human. Imagine if you have a big fight and then have to ask for 10 euros to buy tampons. This is my choice. But if someone else chooses other, it is their choice.

Third: most women I know in Sicily has stopped working when they get married. Menstruation and pregnancy is seen more as an illness, than a natural thing in womens life. And still many call in sick every month.

Four: those who goes to church and asks for priests advice in life decision are…..mostly women…or men in older generations. Just step into a church as see it for yourself. If women still prays in places where teachings are that she is inferior the man and should be treated as a fragile vessel, then the choice is hers. Too many still do it. Being religious in e.g. Sweden is a total different thing than being it in Italy, becuase the church here is everywhere. From the first day you are born ’til the post office in the neighborhood.

Of course there are fathers, husbands and boyfriends who stop their women, and so many just do as they say. As the last thing that happened when my hubbies hair dresser left her job because he did not want her to work (after four months of dating). But, the whole picture is that it is actually women themselves stopping their freedom. Personally I have no problems with sicilian men, but I have always problems with women in Sicily. And you can imagine the situation living as a swedish woman in a classical sicilian family. Not very nice. I never get any nice comments from women. Never. Just the regular bullshit which has lead to “do not treat them back badly, but do not visit and do not ask them to visit you”. Sad. Very sad. If they choose their lifestyle walking at home all days and never leave the city, it is their choice and I do not care nor say anything. The problem becomes mine when they think they know how I should live my life. This may sound harsch, but what can they really teach an indipendent woman from Sweden? You can not have one conversation without the female family gang starting to dictate my life.

I have never been a member in women movement organisations and never will. I do not think we should separate us more. Even the feminism in Sweden has gone too far, they do not deal with real issues anymore and the dialogue is that “everything is the mans fault.” Living in Sweden gave me a quite stupid idea of the genders and especially being a woman I was completely lost. And now living here seeing the womens life reminds me daily of what I do not want to become. Why not stop for a while and ask “What do I really want?”. All the prejuduces said I never saw in real life. A lot of confusion. I have practised in a women shelter and there you do not have the permission to really help nor say anyhting, it is just a in- and out place for women. And not to talk about the catholic help centers in Italy where they advice women to go back to a violent man and they even call the man to tell where they are so he can come a pick up the abused woman and kids. Insane!

My opinion in all these feminism issues is quite short. When women are prepared to provide for themselves or be smart enough to have an economical security and own idea of life, no matter of their lifestyle choices, then we will see gender equality. Because these women already exsists. And when women stands up and seriously demanding law changes. In this world there is more violence against men than women, and if we are not allowed to question matters like; if fulltime motherhood is really good, violent women, critisize religion, questioning the failure of male leadership in this world, why some sexuality is regulated ecc….there will not be any room for equality. I am pro equality, but I would rather call myself humanist than feminist, because equality is not only for genders, it is also for all other discriminated groups. But many women or men do not want to hear this. The feminism I support is what my grand mothers generation did in Scandinavia. They fought for voting rights for women, that women were allowed to open their own businesses, that they got an own identity and were not under a mans custody and many other things that gave todays women the freedom we have. And they managed to do this even having power men against them. These are issues to fight and protect for. Not blaming men all together and live in the past in stories that are not ours.

It is nice to see a change with the younger generation in Sicily. You see it so clearly. There are people breaking free and have the courage to decide their own life, even with pressure from the older generations. And I never forget a recent story I read about a young italian female architect. She went to university to be an architect. And fell in love with one of the younger male teachers. She got pregnant. He abandoned her. Her mother told her to stop studying, trying to convince the man to marry her, because according to the mother of course it was her fault she got pregnant. She refused. Her mother turned her back on her pregnant daughter and called her bad names and that she was a shame for the whole village. She managed to finish her studies even having the child. The child got her lastname as the father did not want to know about the child (in Italy it is still seen as a bastard in many places). Then she opened her own architect studio having the child with her until the child was accepted for third part care. Her mother came back to ask for forgivness quite early and the relation is repared. And guess who comes by when her firm is going well and she earns money? Yes, the father of her child. Begging her to take him back. She did not. But she forgave him and he can see the child.

It is not fair to say that everyhting is the mans fault. Many laws has been made against women in the past and still exists, but also men has suffered and suffers. And dividing genders, sexual orientatins and other silly recommendations of human relations has not been so succesful either as we can see around us. But if a person choses a lifestyle that limits her/him, then it is their choice. The problem is that too many try to force their own hell making on others and we who chose other has to be understanding. No, enough of this!

I think we all are personally responsable of our own lives. We have the right to have any opinions and lifestyles, but not to tell others how to live. And we are obligated to help eachother, but not be dependent.

Then comes the same comment “Well Johanna, it is easy for you to say!” No, it is not. We never know what exactly has happened in other peoples lives.

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