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January 17, 2014

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 17, 2014 When the Moon Hits Your Eye ... by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz Yesterday, I was taking a la luna, ti portardfortuna"  the name Agnese and the . . ( ...... walk around the neighbor- meaning "the moon will word for lamb, agnello. It is by Sal Gxarratam hood with my husband, bring you luck." In ancient important to remember that enjoying the pleasant, mild evening. A mysterious sen- sation permeated the air, like the hushed moment be- fore a magician reveals a grand finale. Perhaps I felt this way because everything stood silent, only the far-off shouts of children playing a game of touch football interrupting the tranquil evening. Perhaps it was due to the fact that, as a day in full January thaw, I perceived the transitional cycle of winter turning to spring beneath my feet. Or maybe this sense of magic derived from the beautiful hues of blue, gold and pearly pink that streaked across the twilight sky. However, once I glanced up above me, I instantly knew why this walk instilled in me such an enigmatic feeling. The moon hung in the sky, a bright, silvery disk, not yet full but enough to bathe the heavens in its incandescent light. This moment reminded me of all the reasons why I love the moon: her beauty, her folkloristic link to strong female deities, even her patronage of my zodiac sign, CanceH In particular, the moon in January has always seemed especially elegant and luminescent to me, for she carries the energy of the New Year and forms a per- fect contrast to the dark winter sky. As the full moon arrives on the 15 th of this week, I will devote some time to explore the supersti- tions, traditions and lore surrounding the moon. It is quite possible that my lifelong admiration for the moon also stems from my Italian blood. Some of my earliest memories pertain- ing to the moon involve my dad singing a popular song from his Italian childhood, one which intoned: "La luna, Rome, several deities, the majority of them women, pre- sided over the moon. Diana, the proud huntress, became associated with the crescent moon, perhaps drawing a connection with the shape of her bow. The goddess Trivia, most commonly known by her Greek name Hecate, oversaw the darker side of the moon, as she ruled over witchcraft, crossroads and the night. Finally, Luna served as a sort of personifi- cation of the moon, and her name still functions as the Italian word for "moon." Modern Italians continue to frequently reference to moon in their folklore, particularly in superstition. The most famous superstition, which is well-known in the United States as well, declares that the full moon influences human behavior in many ways, stirring up romance and lunacy! In fact, the very word "lunacy" derives from "luna." Italians in olden times even whispered that the full moon awakened werewolves, known as the lupomannaro. Other miscel- laneous moon superstitions include the fact that it is lucky to cut one's hair during the waxing moon, because the hair will grow luscious as soon as the moon gets bigger, and that the waxing moon is also a for- tunate time for weddings, because the couple's happi- ness will increase, mimick- ing the moon. There is a holiday towards the end of January that reminds me of the magic and mystery that I frequently identify with the moon. It is St. Agnes's Day, or il Giorno di Sant'Agnese in Italian, which falls on January 21 st. In Italy, this day is associ- ated with lambs, possibly due to the similarity between iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiii il ii iii!iiil ST. MICHAEL 500 Canterbury Street The Respectful V'c , Boston, MA 02131 617.524.1036 Serving the Italian Community for Over 100 Years! Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO * HOMEOWNERS TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Free Parking Adjacent to Building I III I I sheep start birthing lambs around the middle of Janu- ary. Therefore, St. Agnes's Day functions as one of the many January holidays that presage spring, that seek to honor the new life that is starting to blossom even un- derneath the winter snow. However, in addition to its connection with livestock, the St. Agnes's Day celebra- tions of yore included strong elements of magic and mys- tery. In olden England, the eve of St. Agnes's Day was a time devoted to romance and divination. Since St. Agnes is the patron saint of young women, girls would perform a variety of charms in order to dream about their future spouse. These charms could involve anything from walk- ing backwards to bed with- out saying a word, baking a cake in silence or running outside to a field and throw- ing grain into the soil while repeating a rhyme. This aura of romance fits perfectly with cold, moonlit January nights, when the silvery orb of the moon brightens the dark sky and whispers the promise of the upcoming spring. Though often eclipsed by the fiery majesty of the sun, the moon offers her own mys- terious beauty and tranquil magic. She has had a long history in mythology and folklore, fascinating people with her ever-changing face and nocturnal splendor. Pow- erful enough to affect tides yet delicate in her pale light, the moon continues to in- trigue people who still repeat superstitions pertaining to her ability to influence human life. I encourage ev- eryone to take a moment of your busy schedule to glance up at the moon -- whether she is a full silver orb, or a slim crescent in the sky or obscured by slate-gray win- ter clouds. Look at her, and know that there is still so much beauty and magic in the natural world, which will only become more apparent as the winter snows melt into lively spring days. Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz 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. For events going on in Massachusetts this WINTER, check out the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Web site at For a complimentary Massachusetts Getaway Guide, call WWW. BOSTO N P OSTG AZ ETTE.COM We are Living in an Things are going pretty badly if you are a member of the struggling working-class and middle-class home- owners trying to make ends meet as the tax and spend Obamacrats continue piling on more control over our lives. The liberal establish - ment and their media cro- nies are in the midst of cre- ating the atmosphere for a soft socialist police state where the protections of our Constitution starting with the Bill of Rights are under attack. The liberals attempt to demonize "Tea Party" patri- ots trying to rein in govern- ment as whacko birds as have Republican establish- ment types including U.S. Sen. John McCain who has lost all credibility with con- servative folk across the nation. Recently, I saw a great advertisement in the Wall Street Journal showing a little boy and his dog huddled in each other. The ad states, "Trust cannot be bought but it can be earned. Relying on the integrity of another is something that evolves over time." Most of us are becoming more afraid to trust each other because everything seems out of whack in our lives with most of the tur- moil coming from govern- ment. This entity is sup- posed to be all of us but now it has become them. The Tea Party movement is based on the actual Bos- ton Tea Party back in Pre- Revolutionary Boston in 1773 when this protest incited Colonial America to break all ties with the British Crown. Liberals apparently have forgotten what it is like to stand up for individual liberty. Perhaps, it is time for a new name defining those supporting no government overreach by the Obama- crats over almost every aspect of our lives. How about calling Tea Party Republicans, conservative Democrats and Indepen- dents the "Resistance"? I like it myself. The real America I was Era of Liberal Tyranny born into seems to have died. Ironically, I was born the year George Orwell penned his fictional novel not so fic- tional now. Orwell stated in that novel, "Telling the truth is a revolutionary act." Back during the Cold War when the Soviet Union was bent on world domination, the only thing folks living behind the Iron Curtain owned were their voices. Someone once said, "The greatest act of defiance is your voice over the state. Those living under commu- nism learned that first-hand and in the end defiance won the day. The latest example of our rights being denied was the A&E cable channel deciding to sit down Phil Robertson on Duck Dynasty for saying what liberals call politically incor- rect speech during an inter- view with GQ Magazine. The Duck Dynasty clan is a very conservative family that has a right to their belief system. I was not surprised to hear a Born Again Christian say he was opposed to every- thing the gay lifestyle stands for. However, the liberal left gay movement and liberal media voices are trying to call Phil's free speech hate speech. What happened to tolerating others and grant- ing them the same first amendment rights you seek for yourself?. Quoting the Bible is not hate speech. It might sound intolerant to others but it is not the spewing of hate. I thought the comments given to GQ were insensitive but surely not hateful. No wonder when Ameri- cans are polled, there is so much doubt that America's best days lie ahead. Or that most of today's generation believes the next generation is in for even more trouble. We live in a constitution- driven Democratic Republic and as Ben Franklin once opined, "As long as (we) can keep it." I believe in an America where the people rule and our rights including free speech and economic liberty remain our birth rights. LETTERS POLICY The Post-Gazette invites its readers to submit Letters to the Editor. Letters should be typed, double-spaced and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number. Anonymous letters are not accepted for publication. Due to space considerations, we request that letters not exceed two double-spaced, type-written pages. This newspaper reserves the right to edit letters for style, grammar and taste and to limit the number of letters published from any one person or organization, Deadline for submission is 12:00 noon on the Monday prior to the Friday on which the writer wishes to have the material published, Submission by the deadline does not guarantee publication. Send letter to: Pamela Donnaruma, Editor, The Post-Gazette, P.O. Box 130135, Boston, MA 02113