Italian people are known for their superstition. The rationale behind the most prevalent Italian superstitions is formed by a mix of religion, death, fear, and culture among others. For her recent book, new author Ingrid van Everts, who lives in Rome, presents us with a glimpse into the highly superstitious world of the Italians, with little mini stories reflecting a range of them. The Italian superstition perspective offers a whole other take on life, but whether you believe in it or not, you might as well do as the Romans do, says Ingrid. Here, we kick off with the first instalment. Don’t ever wear purple on your way to the theatre, so now you know!
Purple is the colour of sacred vestments worn by Roman Catholic priests during Lent, a religious observance that starts some six weeks before Easter. For those of you who do not know, Roman Catholic priests wear different colours, for special occasions. The general population could not read the bible and relied on the colours of the robes to understand what religious event was taking place.
The Church used purple during Advent and Lent. White and gold as most relevant for Christmas and Easter. Red also means fire and is the colour of the Holy Spirit. Green is the colour of growth. Blue is the colour of the sky and, in some rites, honours Mary the mother of Jesus.
But what has this got to do with the theatre? Well, during Lent, the church expected believers to fast and to withhold from enjoyment and entertainment. This also meant theatres. During Lent, actors were without employment and income, thus unable to buy food and drink.
Theatre actors became irate about the influence of the Church on their livelihood. They, therefore, forbade the wearing purple in the theatre.
So, whilst in Italy if you decide to visit the theatre, avoid wearing that purple dress or scarf. They will not kick you out, but be prepared for some cross looks!
“They will not kick you out, but be prepared for some cross looks!"
Next time: Diciassette
In the Western World, the number thirteen is unlucky, and Friday the thirteenth is considered a day of especially bad luck.
Not so in Italy, where it is the number diciassette [seventeen] and Friday the seventeenth, are considered nothing but trouble.
So, watch this space!
About the author
Ingrid van Everts (I.V. Everts) is a new author. Born and bred in the Netherlands, she has lived in England and South Africa, and in her writing, she draws on all of these experiences. Ingrid now resides in one of the most beautiful cities in the world; Rome, with her Roman husband, and Golden Retriever named Texel, who was named after Ingrid’s favourite Dutch island.