Dead children were enveloped in a tiny white dress with a red ribbon belt fastened on the waist. Wax candles were lighted up around the child corpse. Weep was not allowed for it would have been considered as an insult to the Lord‘s mercy who called that innocent soul before him to grant it the blessing of heaven. The women who gathered at the dead house usually sit in circle without saying a word while the child mother grieved for the loss.
On day in Ficarazzi, while I was entering a peasant’s house whose child was recently dead, something unique caught my attention. It was something I had never seen in any other part of Sicily, and that was a hanging rope behind the poor child head on, which women were twisting knots before leaving. There were several knots on it and I am inclined to think that whoever was twisting those knots on it was actually praying the poor child soul to beg for the Lord’s mercy once reached the heavens.
A child demise announcement was generally followed by an exclamation of relief:
“Glory and heaven!”
And depending on the places and occasions, the poor corpse was usually lead to the cemetery while violins were playing. The child corpse was to be buried away from the adults at the cemetery as the Catholic Church established since 1618.