Today we are going to explain how to express condolences in Italian. Most of our posts tend to be quite upbeat. However, when the occasion has to do with the departure of our dearest ones, every now and then we may need to express condolences in Italian. Death is also part of life and, as such, is important in the path to learn Italian.
EXPRESSING CONDOLENCES IN ITALIAN
A universal condolence message in Italian could simply and obviously be condoglianze, which translates as “My condolences”. You can say just this when someone’s decease affects you in any way, but you may not feel as intimately connected as, say, a direct relative or close friend.
The Italian language can however be very elaborate to express condolences:
|Condolences in Italian language||English translation|
|Siamo colpiti per la perdita e vi siamo vicini in questa circostanza di dolore.||We feel your loss and are with you in this sad occasion.|
|Ci stringiamo a voi nel ricordo e nel dolore per una persona che è venuta a mancare troppo presto.||We hold you tight while in the remembrance and the pain for a person who is gone too soon.|
|Abbiamo appreso con ritardo la terribile notizia, ma ci uniamo al vostro dolore esprimendovi un sincero cordoglio.||We’ve come to know the terrible news very late, but we share your pain as we express our sincerest sympathies.|
|Piango la prematura scomparsa di…||I am sorry for the untimely loss of…|
|Ho appreso la notizia con un grande dolore.||It is with a heavy heart that I’ve come to know the news.|
|Vi preghiamo di accettare le nostre più sentite condoglianze.||We beg that you accept our most heartfelt condolences.|
SUPPORT MESSAGES IN ITALIAN
You may show sympathy and support as well:
|Expression of support in Italian||English translation|
|Il nostro affetto possa consolarvi in questo difficile momento.||May our affection ease your pain in these difficult times.|
|Il mio pensiero e le mie preghiere sono con voi.||My thoughts and prayers are with you.|
|Affranti dal dolore, non troviamo parole per esprimere il nostro dolore, ma vi giunga tutto il nostro affetto.||Heartbroken, there are no words to express our pain, but may all of our affection be with you.|
|Vi mandiamo un abbraccio che possa darvi conforto in questo triste momento.||May our hugs give you some comfort in this sad moment.|
|Vivrà per sempre nei nostri cuori.||He/she will live in our hearts forever.|
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE UK AND ITALY
- Keeping in mind that Italy is mostly a Catholic nation while in the UK Protestant churches lead the way, burials are more relied on than cremations in Italy –despite the fact that now the Catholic Church accepts cremations as long as the ashes are buried and not, say, scattered into a river or kept as a token at home.
- Also because of the religious differences, the Day of the Dead, on November 2, is a national holiday observed in Italy even with suspension of the school and work day. Halloween, a rather Pagan festivity observed by the Anglo-Saxons, is however taking over more and more space, and becoming increasingly popular in Italy.
- During the wake, especially in villages, the Italians keep their deceased loved ones at home until the moment of the mass and the last goodbye at the cemetery or crematorium. In the UK and other Anglo-Saxon countries this happens the other way around: families and friend gather at the deceased person’s (or his/her family’s) home to share some food and drinks as a way to pay respect and show support.
- Again, in Catholic countries there is the custom of praying the novenario (Novena). As its name clearly states, this prayer is chanted during nine days, is part of the wake, and works as an intercession for the deceased’s soul eternal rest. Although novenas do not limit to their use as a funerary tradition, this is a very spread use in Catholic-based societies.
Apparently, novenas do exist in Protestant countries, but their use could be a tad bit different (Christmas, for instance).
- As a symbol of life triumphing over death and life as a cycle, flowers are important in funeral events. Their meaning varies from a culture to the other, though. For example, there is a story of Grace Kelly, recently married to Ranier of Monaco. She had just placed a vase of chrysanthemums on a guest’s room table. Visibly upset, her husband asked her whether she did not know those flowers were a symbol of death in Europe (we suppose she did not and just found the flowers beautiful as ornaments).
We hope this lesson is useful enough for you to express condolences in Italian. Always remember to dress in black and be respectful and solemn during funeral services when you have to deal with Italian people and families.
Would you like to learn more Italian? Discover these 10 Italian superstitions you need to know!