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March 8, 2013     Post-Gazette
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March 8, 2013

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Page4 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 8, 2013 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore 1 March into Spring by Ally Di Censo When I flipped the page of 2) The signs of spring: Thea color which foreshadows my desk calendar to reveal other day, I saw two delicate the vibrant spring foliage bySal Giarratani the first day of March, my green shoots proudly pokingto come. St. Patrick's Day insides bubbled with excite- out of the dirt in front ofmeans the Dropkick ment. Finally, it seemed, the long winter was over! Now came spring, the month of tender flower buds and baby chicks and Easter eggs. Soon I could store my heavy winter coats in the closet, assum- ing the New England weather cooperates and make way for my pastel blazers and blue polka-dotted rain boots. It was amazing how much en- thusiasm the mere mention of a new month could muster inside me. I can hardly be the only person who gets excited over March, I imag- ine -- after all, this is a month which symbolized re- birth and growth since time immemorial. Inspired, I cre- ated a list Of my five favorite things about March to get everyone energized for this springtime month. So, with- out further ado, here is what I love about the third month of the year: I) The crazy weather: The Italians have a saying which declares "Marzo paz- zareUo, guarda il sole e prendi l'ombrello." Translated, this means: "Crazy March, look at the sun and get the umbrella." I love March's changeable weather because it keeps things interesting. One day, I may be walking down the street under a slate- gray sky, propelled by a brisk spring breeze. The next day, I may don a t-shirt and light windbreaker in sixty-degree temperatures! I am never sure what to expect from March, but that is much of the month's charm. my fiancd's house, their em- erald hue striking against the black dirt. Robins now regularly hop and scamper in my front lawn, their scarlet breasts boldly announcing spring. Just yesterday I no- ticed a huge influx of people visiting the shops and res- taurants near my home -- coming out of hibernation and tha~ng out from the win- ter, I suppose. March pre- pares us all for the glorious spring to come. 3) Girl power!: March 84 is International Women's Day. In Italy, this is the Festa Della Donna. The beautiful mimosa flower, which blooms in the early days of March, has become the Italian sym- bol of this holiday dedicated to commemorating women's rights and raising awareness of the In the United States, March is Women's History Month. I love delving into the past to find female role models whose strength and courage paved the way for women today. I also admire how this holiday alerts us to the plight of women around the world. 4) St. Patrick's Day: No self-respecting Bostonian ig- nores St. Patrick's Day. This holidays brims with joy in a month where the trees only just begin to show their buds and the ground remains a muddy brown. St. Patrick's Day means green to me, in the form of the myriad shamrock and lep- rechaun decorations adorn- ing homes and businesses, Murphys blaring from radios and gatherings of family and friends where storytelling and Irish soda bread rule. 5) St. Joseph's Day: Two days after St. Patrick's Day comes the Feast of St. Joseph, particularly re- vered in Italian-American communities. On this day, my father brings home zeppole, or a type of Italian donut made especially for this festival. St. Joseph's Day is also celebrated with pic- nics and outdoor excursions in Italian, placing it within the context of a spring festi- val. Around this time of year my father and his childhood friends would roam around the Abruzzi countryside smelling the new peach blos- soms, as farmers readied their fields for spring. So there you have it -- five absolutely amazing things to love about March. From the winds to the robins, from the mimosas to the shamrocks to the zeppole, March is full of wonderful surprises and hidden gems that herald the arrival of spring. If we could all pause at the beginning of every month and count at least five aspects that we love about it, every day of the year would be its own present, granting us as much joy as we are willing to give it. Ally Di Censo is a Graduate Student in History at the Uni- versity of Massachusetts Bos- ton. She appreciates any com- ments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folklore at adicenso89@gmail, com. Massachusetts Department of Transportation The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Invites you to a meeting regarding CALLAHAN TUNNEL VENT BUILDING (North Street) REHABILITATION PROJECT Wednesday, March 27th- 6:00pm NAZZARO COMMUNITY CENTER The contractor as well as MassDOT project staff will present the project details and schedule. For more information, please contact John Romano, MassDOT Municipal Liaison at 857-368-8905 or This meeting space is accessible to people with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation (such as American Sign Language Interpreters, assistive listening devices, handouts in alternate formats, etc.) and/or language assistance to fully participate, please contact John Romano at MassDOT at 857-368-8905 or before March 14th. Such accommodations will be provided free of charge. d.... .... -