"The Sicilian puppet is a work of art between history and fantasy that recalls the childhood stories of every Sicilian"
The deads (I morti) and the martorana fruit
by Agata Sandrone and Silvana Restivo
I am Agata Sandrone and in collaboration with Silvana Restivo we welcome you to this new reportage.
Today’s reportage is very sweet… we are going to talk about the Sicilian tradition of November 2nd.
This is the famous cannistrù, where in the center will be placed the ‘pupaccena’ or ‘pupo rizuccaru’, represented by a paladin or a dame.
Around it dried fruit will be placed, such as chestnuts, walnuts, almonds, dried figs, pomegranates and carobs.
Next to these fruits cannot miss the traditional cookies, such as: taralli,tetù, reginelle and mostaccioli (also called ossa ri morti) and “martorana fruit.”
On the night between November 1 st and 2nd, our ancestors would light a candle in front of the photo of their dearly departed, reciting prayers such as the Our Father and an ancient Sicilian prayer reported in the entries of the Pitrè “Armi santi, armi santi, io sugnu uno e vuatri siti tanti: mentri sugnu ‘ntra stu munnu di guai, cosi di morti mittitiminni assai.” (Holy souls, holy souls, I am one and you are many;while I am in this world of trouble, put plenty of gifts of the dead).
In order not to lose our traditions, it is always good to remember Pitrè’s collections.
We now show you the various steps for making the martorana fruit
We put in a bowl
1 kg almond flour,
900 g powdered sugar,
2 vials of almond flavouring
4 coffee cups of hot water,
and my mom started making the dough.
You continue with the dough, using a little powdered sugar to keep it from sticking.
The other step is to put the dough into the molds, the mold that is being made is the broccoli mold.
And here is ours is almost ready, now you have to leave it to dry before being colored
“Talè chi mi misiru i Morti, ‘u pupu cu l’anchi torti, a atta ch’abballava, u surci chi sunava. Passa la zita cu ‘a vesta di sita, passa u baruni cui cavusi apinnuluni.”
(These were the words that resounded in Sicilian homes on the morning of November 2nd. In the night, the dead had brought gifts and sweets, and the children were eager to discover their gifts. They recited, therefore, the spiel, with a superstitious respect for tradition)
A very old recipe that owes its name to a convent… A convent named after the aristocrat Eloisa Martorana, founder in 1194 of the third Benedictine monastery in Palermo, which boasted the most beautiful garden in the city, full of sweet-smelling roses, orange, citron and lemon trees that sweetened the air with a delicate but intense orange blossom aroma.
Here, nuns used to prepare these delicious little almond cookies, the Martorana. Since then they have become a true Sicilian tradition.
Silvana Restivo, author
Agata Sandrone, author
Giovanna Battaglia, english adaptment