Beliefs and superstitions constitute an important part of Corsicans traditions and heritage.
Corsica, mysterious island…
Many Corsicans are superstitious, and the reason is this: since centuries, myths and beliefs are in the lives of the islanders. During traditional gatherings, elders told stories of witches, goblins, devil … Combining weird and wonderful but also truthful stories about bandits of honor, invasions, family rivalries … Oral tradition has allowed that tales and legends passed from generation to generation.
Through these different legends that confuse reality and fantasy, it’s the Corsican soul that emerges …
He related this facts to his close relations, and the news be disseminated in neighboring hamlets of Murianincu. In the next morning, mans of Reghjetu, Cioti, Serra, Serrale, Tribbiolu, Piazze, rushed to the place indicated by the shepherd.
But the small boats was missing. Those giant mans, with blond hairs and grey eyes, searched for long time and finally found, scattered along the Bucatoghju river, the big ants. They noticed then that ants had human face, and was guarded by 3 black men armed to the teeth. Murianincu’s men gave them cheese and milk, and a pact was made between the two camps : the young men could married dwarfs, except one of them, the most beautiful “Bellafiora” who was their queen.
So, those weddings were celebrated, and it was only songs, dances and music for days. Until the day where a villager of Coccula, madly in love of Bellafiora, trussed-up her on his horse and kidnaped her.
Arrived in a place called « Malanotte » (damned night), just before to jump over the river, the horse stumbled and drowned in water. At this same moment and just before to go down, Bellafiora had time to scream “be cursed !”
Immediately, a thick fog covered the hills of Moriani’s pieve, and at dawn the curse started.
The young man and his father perished, taken by an acute pain in the heel. That same ache affected every men, and because this sickness was born in heels, it was called “A Calcagnetta” (the little heel)
Then, we saw empty houses, abandoned people, and dead body eaten by ravens. Ill people crawled painfully until the peak which overlook valley where is situated today San Mamilianu’s chapel. On the place was dug a mass grave “l’arca”, and men waited for die there. When other sick people came, they pushed dying persons and took their place, and so on and so forth… That’s how all Murianincu’s men disappeared…
From Prete Carlotti « Martinu Appinzapalu »
Recently, in wanting to level the site in front of the chapel, local council of San Ghjuvanni have done dig a trench to build a wall. They was hardly surprised to discover a succession of graves full of skulls and human bones. An anthropologist of Bastia’s area, by measuring shinbones, is come to the conclusion that skeletons belonged to men measuring between 1m72 and 1m78, so giants for the epoch.
Saint Lucy’s eye
It’s the cover plate of a shell that we can pick on some beaches after a big storm. Their size varies from 2 millimeters to 3 centimeters.
It’s during the IVth century that the legend of Sainte Lucie emerged : a young lady from the Syracuse’s nobility was able to cure her mother who was suffering from an incurable disease, through repetitive prayers to the Virgin Mary. Giving her sincere and unlimited devotion, she ripped off her own eyes and threw them to the sea, in order not to turn away from her faith, and keep away admirers. Completely devoted to the cult, she realized numerous miracles. Then, in answer to this faithfulness, the Holy Virgin restored her the sight, and gave her “Ochji belli e lucent” – eyes even more beautiful and radiant.
The shell’s cover plate called the « Turbo Rugueux », localized on Mediterranean shores, symbolize Sainte Lucie’s eyes. It’s say that wearing one wards off bad luck, and boosts good luck : is judged as a lucky charm in Corsica. It should be noted that we find variants of this symbolism in all Mediterranean basin and beyond that, especially in Indonesia.
The Corsican flag, A Bandera Corsa
Nobody can exactly tell the thrue origin of the Moorish head. Several legends remain:
A moorish servant was plotting against the King of Aragon. A Corsican foiled the plot by bringing the Moorish heard in a white sheet. Grateful, the king said to him: « From now on, it will be the flag of your country ». During the Saracen invasions, the Corsicans would impale the heads of the Moorish officers, who could be recognized thanks to their white headbands around their foreheads. During the battles, as a trophy, Corsican would take a psychological advantage over their attackers.
In History, some things are sure, so we know that the Moorish head, which headband was covering their eyes, took its origins in Aragon. Aragon relationships with Corsicans crests took their origins from 1927, when Pope Boniface VIII gave the administration of Corsica and Sardinia to the Kingdom of Aragon never ruled Corsica but gave its crests to Sardinia (Red Cross supported by four Moorish heads).
In 1736, when Théodore de Neuhoff became the king of Corsica, he adopted the Moorish heads in his coats of arms. At this time, the head was turned to the right.
In 1745, when Ghjuvan Petru Gaffori attacked the citadel of Bastia which was besieged by the Genovese and he adopted this flag. The headband was lifted up as a symbol of « Corsica opened its eyes ».
In 1760, Pasquale Paoli formalized Gaffory’s choice. He had removed the jewels from the Moorish heads and had it turned to the left. In 1762, the Cunsulta di Corti adopted the Moorish head in the Corsica coats of arms.
The « Mazzeru » is a wizard who foresee the death of a human being during his dreams. He hunts and kills the first wild beast that he finds, turn it over, and see on him the face of a closing person who is going to die in one year and 3 days.
The “Mazzeru” isn’t judged as a bad person, but rather like someone strange and mysterious, since he kills against its will.