Three unusual signs of Italy

Strange signs of Italians that can surprise anyone...

AT every culture has its own superstitions that make it truly unique, even if they may seem strange to an outsider to say the least. The Italians are no exception, harboring many irrational beliefs and curious superstitions. Some signs of Italy will surely surprise a person who has not previously been interested in this topic.

Signs of Italy and their meaning

Although many Italians are deeply Catholic, some pagan superstitions, beliefs and rituals have survived to this day. For some of them, logic is powerless. Many things are simply considered evil or a bad omen. However, other signs have a completely reasonable and logical explanation.

coast of sicily
Beautiful view of the Sicilian coast

It takes more than one day to talk about all the national characteristics of signs and beliefs, or at least describe them in general terms. And the size of this "story" will turn out to be truly impressive. Therefore, in this article there will be no detailed descriptions of the consequences spilling olive oil, the strictest no hat on the bed, reasons unlucky number 17 and many other more or less known facts.

I'll only tell you about three signs of italians, which are connected by one common interesting feature. For us, they have the exact opposite meaning.

1. Meet the funeral procession: a sign on the road in Italy

It happened during a trip to the well-known island of Sicily. We were lucky. We stayed with our familiar couple, which allowed us to learn a lot of interesting facts, because the guides don’t tell us a lot or simply don’t know. And although only the “head” of the family with the classic Italian name Manuel, according to the Russian interpretation, was a native Sicilian, his warm presence was more than enough for us.

One day we went to a nearby town. Just a casual walk. And suddenly on the way to us met a hearse accompanied by a large group of people accompanying the deceased on their last journey.

Sign Funeral procession in Italy
Meeting the funeral procession in Italy

My wife and I involuntarily fell silent. After all, meeting a funeral on our way is considered not a very good omen.

But then Manuel almost screamed with undisguised joy, something like: “Oh, that's so lucky!”. Interestingly, ten minutes after the first meeting, a second similar one occurred. And then he no longer held back and with all his appearance, gestures, voice and smile showed that our day was set.

2. Italian sign to meet the wedding on the way

Other times it was exactly the opposite. And here we learned new information about Italian superstitions. Walking along the streets of Agrigento near the church of San Lorenzo, known as del Purgatorio, we met a modest but cheerful wedding procession moving towards us.

The “sad” groom, the beautiful bride, guests, photographers, everything is as usual. I looked around a bit and smiled. But here is our merry fellow Manuel, he only sighed heavily and whispered something to himself.

signs of Italians photo to meet the wedding
Wedding in Italy photo: happy couple of newlyweds in Agrigento in Sicily

Here we could not stand it anymore and asked the reason for the behavior that was incomprehensible in our opinion. After all, meeting a wedding here is a good omen. New family, new hopes. It's wonderful! And a funeral, always a tragedy, means meeting them is not good.

The explanations of our friend Manuel, in my opinion, are the best way to characterize, if not the whole Italian mentality, but a significant part of it. Looking ahead, I’ll say right away that his answer completely satisfied us with its logic and adequacy. Meeting a wedding falls into the category of bad omens in Italy.

“I have already noticed that you Russians talk strangely. What is a wedding? A wedding is money down the drain. After all, in fact, no one is sure that this couple will be happy, that everything will be sincere and wonderful for them. And the money has already been spent on it. And not small. What's good about that?" Manuel replied.

He did not stop there and continued his explanation of the significance of the meeting of the funeral procession for a real Italian. However, according to his rather convincing logic, such a sign should work not only for the Sicilians, but for all the inhabitants of our planet.

“Well, what about the funeral? A funeral is, of course, sad. But if a person has lived a long life, then this is natural. But most importantly, the funeral is a legacy for those who remain. Inheritance is money. The meaning of this is simple - the money came. So meeting the funeral is good luck.

3. A bouquet of chrysanthemums: a deadly insult for any Sicilian

It's hard to say about the whole of Italy, but if you want to mortally offend a resident of the island of Sicily, you just need to give him a bunch of chrysanthemums. And on this, any positive relationship can be considered finished. There is no need to verbally strain, shout or swear. Your actions speak for themselves. It is impossible to give chrysanthemums, and receiving them is a very bad omen.

And if you ever plan to get to the distant island of Sicily, you should certainly know about the attitude of the locals towards chrysanthemums. This will help to eliminate accidents and, from a pure heart and ignorance, not come up with such a “gift”.

It is impossible to say exactly when such a negative attitude towards chrysanthemums arose among local residents. But the fact remains. So, the fact is that the second of November in Italy is the “Day of the Dead”. It is also called the "Feast of the Dead".

Cemetery in Italy
The second of November is the "Day of the Dead", the day when cemeteries are visited

On this "Holiday" Italians visit the graves of relatives and close friends. On the same day, it is customary for children to give toys. Well, a visit to the cemeteries, as a rule, is followed by a good "snack". Local cafes and shops sell a variety of pastries and sweets, often sugar figurines, delicious in taste and terrible in name.

Oddly enough, but for most indigenous people, memories of the best moments of childhood are associated with the “Day of the Dead”. Indeed, on this day they always received new toys, and various goodies and sweets could be eaten in large quantities.

And on the same day, everywhere you look, just in unrealistic quantities - chrysanthemums, chrysanthemums, chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemums of all varieties, colors and shapes. They are sold both cut and in flower pots.

Why giving a bouquet of chrysanthemums is not good

They are sold on the streets, in alleys, along roads and highways. They are planted in decent volumes in and around cemeteries. The bitter smell of chrysanthemums literally fills the entire space, displacing all other smells around.

That is why, from early childhood, the inhabitants of Sicily form an attitude towards chrysanthemum, as cemetery flower, which is appropriate to “give” only to those who have gone to the “other world”, although the flowers themselves are not nearly to blame for this ...

Here are three Italian signs that are unusual for us. And you can't argue. Iron logic and what can you do with it ...

“Why do birches make such a noise in Russia” ... Sicilian birches

And a little bonus Travel Guide to a short story. And the bonus is "native" Sicilian birches. There are also such people, and not only in Russia, as some people think.


  1. Chrysanthemums are very beautiful flowers, I have been growing them for a long time. There is a romance, in the first line of which it sounds like this: “Chrysanthemums have blossomed in the garden for a long time ...” (about lost, unrequited feelings), for our culture this is really a beautiful autumn flower (but autumn, it adorns autumn time, because dead time is ahead - winter, for which we love this flower), but in Sicily a different attitude has developed towards it. I did not know about this, informative information. Thank you.

    1. I recently gave a bouquet of beautiful chrysanthemums to my wife, she was pleased, we are not in Italy 🙂

      1. Give your wife more often chrysanthemums, roses, and field daisies. Such moments adorn life, especially women. Romanticism in a relationship is great. And the fact that we are not in Italy is also correct.

  2. The situation is like the British with a black cat that crossed the road. But on the other hand, it's very convenient. I met a wedding in Russia: tell yourself - I'm Russian, met in Italy, tell yourself - so we are in Italy

    1. An old well-known feature, many people use it. But the question is: does it help?

  3. "The classic Italian name "Manuel"??? Why would you? Or Manuele, or Manolo. But certainly not Manuel.

    1. That's right, in Italy (as well as throughout the world) derivatives from the name of Manuel are common. To be precise, in Italy it is Emanuele and Manolo. I want to emphasize that the Italian name Emanuele in Russian is pronounced as Emanuel or Emmanuel (The text of the article indicates that this is a Russian interpretation). The King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III is called Victor Emmanuel III in Russia. It is interesting that in France (Emmanuel or Emanuel) are male names, but also a name with the ending e (Emmanuelle) is already female. In this regard, quite ridiculous situations happened in Corsica, but this is a different story. The only thing that all these names have in common is the biblical origin from Immanuel (Manuel for short). Thanks for the information and interest in the topic.

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