Image: Massimo Branca
Although the family may shed some tears over the remains of their loved ones, crying soon turns to smiles.
It’s a little like a party, but one where the guests of honor are corpses. There is a definite festive atmosphere in the crowd as the tomb is opened. By the light of candles, close relatives enter the dark, earthy-smelling crypt to retrieve the remains of their ancestors. The dead emerge wearing their shrouds, known as lambas, and are laid out on the ground ready to be unwrapped — the bones lovingly cleaned, and the remains rewrapped in their new burial cloths, ready to join in the celebrations.