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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 2, 2015 Here Comes La Befana[ (Continued from Page 1) that she was too busy clean- ing her home. She later changed her mind, though, and hopped on her broom, fly- ing through the sky to join the Magi. Unfortunately, she never did find them, so to- day she still zips on her broom trying to locate the Baby Jesus, leaving pre- sents for children along the way. When I was young, La Befana used to frighten me, as her haggard nature formed a sharp contrast to the jolly and rotund Santa Claus. This was heightened by a haunting Italian melody my grandmother sang, which in- toned: "La Befana vien di note/ Con le scarpe tutte rotte/Col vestito a la "Romana/Viva, viva la Befana!" (Translation: "La Befana comes at night/With her shoes all broken/dressed in the Roman style/Long live, long Iive la Befana!"). However, I now love La Befana for her symbolism of feminine strength. A lot of scholars believe that La Befana is derived from old folk goddesses who guarded over the transition from winter to spring, which intensifies her power. Indeed, the Epiphany does serve as a sort of milestone in counting down the com- ing of spring. The winter solstice has already passed, and the sun remains in the sky for a longer time. I can already sense the lengthening of days in the deep blue skies and golden twilight of these midwinter evenings. Though we ean still expect cold and snow in the coming months, the promise of springtime has already manifested itself. The Epiphany ends th'e Christmas season, as evi- dent in the Italian rhyme which proclaims: "La Epifania tutte le feste le porta via" ("Epiphany sweeps all the feasts away"}. However, the Epiphany does begin another season, that of Carnival. Carnival is a precursor to Lent and Easter, and it stretches from the Epiphany to Mardi Gras, or the Tues- day before Ash Wednesday. As such, it functions as a sort of spring festival, a preparation for the still long- off feast to Easter. Around the world, people start bak- ing their King Cakes on Twelfth Night, or the eve of the Epiphany. King Cakes are special breads made es- pecially for Epiphany and the Carnival season, with reci- pes that vary worldwide. In France, King Cakes have a flaky crust and an almond frangipane filling. Louisi- ana-style King Cakes are ring-shaped, with a colorful topping and a c:innamon- sugar swifl I mal,e this type of King Cake every Twelfth Night, replete with purple, green and yellow sprinkles in traditional Carnival col- ors. The shape recalls both the crowns' of the Three Kings and the growing sun. True to folk custom, I hide a chickpea in the cake -- who- ever finds it in his or her slice gets good luck in the coming year. Let the revelry of CarniVal begin! The Twelve Days of Christ- mas may soon be coming to a close, but that does not mean that the festivities have to end. The Epiphany provides us with many oppor- tunities to celebrate. We can honor the arrival of La Befana, who symbolizes the ancient strength that women have long possessed and the constant turning of the seasons. We can celebrate the beginning of Carnival, the extended wel- come to spring and the time of laughter and color. As t he Christmas festivities give way to fresh new Janu- ary days, keep in mind that as long as we keep a childlike wonder inside of ourselves and a belief in the magic of Mother Earth, we will also have reasons for feasting and rejoicing! Ally Di Censo Symynkywtcz is a Graduate Student in History at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folklore at adicenso89@gmail, com. / * Here We Go Again[ (Continued from Page 1) How' many U.S. soldiers died in both I.raq and Af- ghanistan in the last .13 years? How many more were injured and maimed for life? What did we gain from their sacrifice? where none is Seen. Politi- cians say missions were accomplished when they weren't. Here we are entering 2015 and we still have our fight- ing forces in harm's way Politicians claim victory and part of strategies that s cannot work. This is what happens when politicians run wars. We don't win and accomplish very little meaningful. Thank you  very much Washington, DC, you did it againl , POST-GAZETTE Mailed To Your Each Week] Leave the Delivery To Us! With a Gift Subscription to the Post-Gazette, your generosity will be remembered every week of the year. We'll send the recipient an announcement of your gift. Their subscription will begin with the current issue and continue for one year. POST-GPETT] _'l To ,rom Fill out couPon below and mail with paYment to: Post-Gazette, PO Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113. I would like to send a one year Gift Subscription of the Boston Post-Gazette to the following person(s). I have enclosed $35 per subscription. Recipient Name Giver Name Address Address City State Zip City, Phone Phone State__Zip I I I .3 i Townie Santa Celebrates 32 n" Anniversary Townie Santa: First Responder to those in need. This year over in Charlestown, Townie Santa celebrated its 32 "d anniversary bringing Christmas cheer to the community's elderly. Baskets of goodies and a delicious meal are provided to shut-ins, many of them celebrating Christ- mas alone with their memories. The volunteers called Elves gathered as usual at the James W. Conway Bunker Hill Post 25 site and set out throughout the town with their deliver- ies. This year this annual event took place on Sunday, December 21 st. Charlestown is a community steeped in history going back to the Battle of Bunker Hill. Townie Santa's chapter of his- tory began back in 1982 in a conversation amonst a few community activists in November of that year and in less than a month's time Townie Santa was born and made its first visits to Charlestown's elderly, needy and shut-ins, It was well received and has been going strong ever since. Charlestown often gets a bad rap and Townie Santa shows all what it means to be a Townie. This is a caring commu- nity and this annual event has had a unique way over the years of drawing folks together in common purpose to take care of their own. Today, I believe the engine of success is found in Tim Conway and all of the Townie Santa Elves who show up year after year on a Sunday in December to do their good deed. They are the new generation who carry on the work started back in 1982. I can remember when the effort began. Thanks to Mary Doherty and Gloria Conway of the old Charlestown Patriot, the show got on the road. I remember most of the names behind the early success stories. There was Arthur Crotty, the first president of Townie Santa. He was a large imposing guy, looked every bit the longshoreman that he was. How- ever, he had a heart of gold and loved helping others. There was Dave Flanagan, like myself, one of the young guys back then. Don't forget Kay Whelan, Judy Evers or Cookie Giordano from Charlestown Live, State Rep. Richie Voke and Jay Ash now headed to the State House from Chelsea to serve in the Baker Administration. Townie Santa will hopefully be around as long as there are Townies who care about their community and the elderly who came before them. If you would like to know more about Townie Santa contact Towniesanta@gmail.corru -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST -- THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 Real Estate Matt6o Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530