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Arba Sicula

Promoting the Language and Culture of Sicily

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What is the origin of the Trinakria symbol? How do you pronounce the Sicilian words dumani, signuruzzu, or beddu? What is the history of Sicilian food? Sicilian-Americans who want to explore their heritage, those wishing to study Sicilian, or anyone interested in learning more about the culture of the Mediterranean island, will be interested in Arba Sicula. The non-profit international organization promotes the language and culture of Sicily in the following ways:

Publishes Arba Sicula
Arba Sicula, the official journal of the Sicilian-American organization by the same name, features Sicilian poetry, prose, history, art, cuisine, proverbs, language, book reviews, and music. A recent issue included puisia siciliana (Sicilian poetry), narrativa siciliana (Sicilian fiction), an essay titled Aeolus, King of Winds (a reference to the Aeolian Islands, seven small volcanic islands north of Messina), and a review of the book The Woman Outlaw, by Maria Rosa Cutrufelli.

Publishes Sicilia Parra
A 20-page biannual newsletter that highlights the activities of the organization, Sicilia Parra is written primarily in English with a couple of pages in Sicilian. The current issue's table of contents lists articles on such subjects as Sicilian food and cooking, the flag of the Old Kingdom of Sicily, and i canterini di Ortigia, a musical group that performs traditional folk songs.

Promotes Books of Sicily and Sicilians
Arba Sicula is dedicated to "..educating people about the true nature of the Sicilian people and of their contributions to western civilization." The 2005 book catalogue, available through Legas Publishing, includes works such as A Thousand Years in Sicily: From the Arabs to the Bourbons, by Giuseppe Quatriglio, Malidittu la Lingua, by Vincenzo Ancona, and Sicilian Erotica, edited and translated by Onat Claypole.

Publishes Supplements
The organization recently published Sicilian Cuisine through History and Legend, by Gaetano Basile, and an excerpt of the 48-page booklet is available for review. The volumes are included in subscriptions to the organization. Examples of other supplements include Customs and Habits of the Sicilian Peasants, by Jerre Mangione, and La Barunissa di Carini: Poem of the Sicilian Renaissance, introduced and translated by Anthony Cinquemani.

Organizes Lectures and Poetry Recitals
Past events have included musical presentations, poetry readings, and a tasting of Sicilian wines.

Organizes Annual Tours of Sicily for Members
To complete the experience, Arba Sicula leads tours to Sicily. Travelers have the opportunity to see the major sites on the island and meet local members of the organization.

Become a Member
Membership includes two issues of Sicilia Parra and one double volume of Arba Sicula plus any other published supplements. Subscription information is available at Arba Sicula. A recent subscriber received the following publications when becoming a member:
  • The Sounds of Sicilian: A Pronunciation Guide, by Gaetano Cipolla the president and editor of Arba Sicula
  • What Makes a Sicilian?, also by Cipolla
  • Legas Publishing 2005 catalogue
  • The Fig Cake Family, a children's book written by Bea Tusiani and illustrated by Sarah Conrad
There's a popular Sicilian saying that sums up the relationship between the island and the peninsula: "L'Italia senza a Sicilia nenti cunta, a Sicilia senza l'Italia si nni scanta." (Italy without Sicily counts for nothing; Sicily without Italy is afraid.) Arba Sicula highlights the many contributions Sicily has made to western civilization and, with publications, books, lectures, and tours, encourages greater understanding and knowledge of Sicilian language and culture.
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