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Sicilian Streghe & Strega

For those of you who came here looking for the liquor Strega that was mentioned in The Godfather Novel, click here. For those of you who wish to learn about La Vecchia Religione (The Old Religion), you are in the right place.

Strega literally means witch in Italian, and is the practice of pagan rituals such as the occult and Wicca, better known as witchcraft.  Strega is a female witch, Stregone is a male witch, collectively, they would be referred to as Streghe or Stregheria.

 The are not to be mistaken with the cult such as satanism or anything remotely related.  It does however, have the belief of ancient gods and goddesses.  

Long before Christianity was made legal and dominated all of Italy and the world, Pre-Etruscan Italians had mysterious and magic practices and teachings which were further developed and refined by the Etruscans around 1000BC.  The rise of the Roman Empire as well as other factors began to influence Italian religion.  While all pagan religions were soon stomped out by the rise of Christianity, one of the most common remnants of this secret religion is the Trinacria, which was put on Pagan temples in Sicily in an effort to scare off invading armies.

Those who find this odd, well, it is, but really isn't.  When a relative is sick, we go and light a candle and say a special prayer to a designated saint.  Not too much different?  In fact, many may not realize it, but the days of the week, and even the months of the year, are all named after pagan Gods.

Days of the Week...
= named for the Sun (Domenico in Italian)
Monday = named for the Moon (Lunedi in Italian, from the word Luna which means moon)
Tuesday = named for Mars (Martedi in Italian)
Wednesday = Mercury (Mercoledi in Italian)
Thursday = Jupiter (Giovedi in Italian)
Friday = Venus (Venerdi in Italian)
Saturday = Saturn (Sabato in Italian)

And the Months of the Year...
January -
From Latin Januarius, honoring Janus, a Roman God.  Being first (and the first month of the year), he reined over the Gates of Heaven, which Christians later assigned to St. Peter.
February -  From Februus, another name for the God of purification Faunus and fertility.
March - Named after Mars, the god of war because it is usually a stormy and windy month.
April - Is derived from the Latin word "to open", just like the blooming of the trees. The Romans dedicated this month to Venus, often referring to it as Mensis Veneris instead of Aprilis.  It is said that geniuses are often born in April, and there is much documentation that Jesus was actually born in the Spring, not December.  The Winter Solstice was renamed the birth of Christ in an effort to convert pagans and this pagan ritual over to Christianity.
May - Maia Majesta was the ancient Roman Goddess of Spring.  She was considered to be Vulcan's wife.
June - The Roman Goddess Juno was Queen of Heaven and Guardian of Marriage and ruled childbirth. Even today, June is still a favorite month for marriages.  We also get the term "honeymoon" from the month of June because it is  only in this month that was see the orangish color of the full moon which resembles that of the color of honey.
July - While once called Quintilus, or the 5th month, it was renamed for Julius Caesar and given a full 31 days in his honor.
August - Not to be out-done by his famous Uncle Julius, Roman Emperor Augustus renamed what was once called Sixtilis (the 6th month) and also given a full 31 days.
September - Comes from the Latin number for 7 of the old calendar.

October - The root comes from the word octo, or the 8th month in the old calendar.
November - 9th month in old Roman calendar.  It is also recognized as a month of harvest, from ancient times as well as that of modern America.

December - 10th month in the old calendar which also brought the winter solstice and the yule season.

~ More Coming Soon ~

Required Reading for Italian-Americans...

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