By Nathalie the 28/10/2022
According to island tradition, the deceased are still highly regarded and can even intervene in times of danger.
All Saints Day, as its ancient name suggests, is still known on the island as the Feast of the Dead and it is thought that the dead return at night to the places where they used to live. It is therefore essential to ensure that they find these places just as they left them, and to make sure that the table is laid.
On this evening, it is important to set a place for them. As a general rule, before going to bed, people would place some bread and water, or even some milk and chestnuts, on the table or on the windowsill. Certain families, however, choose to serve a full plate of roast meat for them at dinnertime, as if the deceased relative was expected to arrive and sit down at table with them. The next morning they read the signs left in the ashes of the fireplace and the family eats the dishes that had been specially prepared.
This custom still exists to this day:
In Bunifaziu, on 2nd November, we still cook « le Pain des Morts », or the Bread of the Dead – made using flour, sugar, butter, eggs, nuts and raisins.
In Bastia, « salviata » is still made, an S-shaped gateau flavoured with sage (salvia in Latin: to heal).
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