29 / 2009
Emanuel Valentin

Breads and Saints: Ritual Practices of Reciprocity among Sicilian Migrants in Germany

Using the example of Sicilian migrants in Germany I point out the relationship between ritual revitalisation in the migrant community, the movement and the reproduction of objects respectively. A case in point is the reactivation of a local type of festival of St Joseph, which Sicilian migrants from one particular town began to celebrate in Germany in the 1970s. It shows close connections to the Sicilian hometown on both the material and symbolic level, hence anchoring identity and reproducing memory. I will show how personal touch becomes tradition within the range of individual play and the framework of descent and how the saint’s cult becomes translocative through its revitalisation in the migrant community.
KEY WORDS: migration, ritual change, social change, Sicilian migrants, reciprocity