Corsican holiday traditions
We all know the commercial habits of Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day and other holidays. But there are places where ancient traditions are stronger than ever, instead of buying presents or eating a lot. And on this blog, you can learn about ancient Corsica traditions.
This is called the Evil Eye in French. There are a bunch of amulets that can protect you from it. They can be made from coral, salt crystals or you can even form a horn with your fingers, making a gesture by extending the index and little finger while holding down with the thumb the middle and ring. If you have the “curse” already, you need a faith healer called “signatore”. By performing rituals and prayers the healer will remove the “curse” from the affected person. The knowledge to be a faith healer is passed from generation to generation during Christmas night. It can be learned, but first you need to have the gift of magic, which not everyone has. The belief needs to be strong and pure. It is said that children and happy people are the most vulnerable to the evil eye because envy and jealousy are the main causes which are usually expressed by emotional or young people.
On the Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday before Easter, Corsicans are going to church and carry their little crosses which are called “Crucettes” to be blessed by the vicar with holy water. They are thought to bring good luck and are kept like charms until the next year. The old one from the previous year has to be burned. The new one you can carry around your neck, keep in the drawer or hang it on the wall. Usually, you can see little crosses in Corsican cars hanging on the rear-view mirror. Crucettes are made from palm tree or olive tree branches.
- The Christmas decoration that is a must-have for a true Corsican is small strawberry tree or a holly tree or its branches, not a typical pine as we are used to.
- At midnight of the Holy mass in churches the small statue of baby Jesus called Bambinu is uncovered and showed to the people, usually it is custom made.
- It is no wonder that chestnuts are on the Christmas table, it is a specialty of the island and served with chickpea soup.
- In some Corsican villages people throw the first spoon of their meal in to the fire, it is thought that it is feeding baby Jesus.
- The main symbol of Christmas is fire. From the 24th until the 1st day of the New Year there are fires lit in all the villages, squares are illuminated with light, churches are full of candles. This tradition is respected, and it is believed that if you forget to throw even a single log into the fire, it will bring death to the family after the New Year’s festivities.
- While celebrating Christmas, Corsicans visit seven families in their village to offer a log for their fire and that’s how they spend time together. The whole village is like one big family during the holidays.