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March 15, 2013     Post-Gazette
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March 15, 2013

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 15, 2013 &apos; .... L'00nno00e00'a00arin,ta00n00o0000ore 1 THINKING00 ! Lately, it appears as if in Italy, where it is named festival in Italy involves the concept of luck keeps La Festa di San Patrizio. the making of a table or al- by Sal Giarratani < ..... / blossoming everywhere, like Many of the symbols associ- tar, known as La Tavolata, ated with St. Patrick's Day reverberate with Such reso- nance because they speak to the spring-like atmosphere of mid-March. For example, the mere sight of glittery shamrock decorations ap- pearing in shop displays is enough to remind everyone that the joy of St. Patrick's Day quickly approaches. Ac- cording to legend, St. Patrick used the shamrock to ex- plain the theology of the Holy Trinity. Shamrocks also imbue the festival with a vibrant green hue, envelop- ing us in the same color of the grass, leaves and flower buds that begin to awaken in the crisp spring air. Another St. Patrick's symbol, the lep- rechaun, actually pre-dates Christianity. Leprechauns are moody, diminutive fair- ies from Irish mythology. Supposedly, they hid pots of gold at the end of rain- bows, giving us one of the iconic images we associate with the holiday to this day. Seeing all these rainbows reminds of gentle spring showers and the calm, balmy skies that follow, at times interrupted by a blaze of color. I love celebrating St. Patrick's Day because it offers such a plethora of spring symbolism. I make Irish soda bread and gather around with my family and early spring flowers. Mainly, this is due to the imminent arrival of .St. Patrick's Day. Decorations beckon to me from store windows and house doors, festooned in shades of emerald green and baring cute phrases like "Luck of the Irish." Flags depicting a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, clearly a rash of good luck for anyone who can find such a prize, flutter gaily in the breeze. As the snow melts to make way for fields of clover, keen-eyed children search for the mythical four-leafed flower, a symbol of optimal luck. I believe that St. Patrick's Day became such a popular holiday because it taps into the feeling of luck that many experience as spring approaches. Another holi- day, St. Joseph's Day, also rejoices in the natural signs of spring and promises bet- ter, warmer days to come. Festivals like these can be particularly important for people who are experiencing difficult situations. They re- mind us of the manner in which ancient Romans viewed luck, as goddess named Fortuna who had a giant rotating wheel. The best part of Fortuna's wheel was the knowledge that it always moved, so those lit- erally down on their luck friends, realizing how lucky I am to have them in my life. Two days later, on March 19 th, another spring festival jumps into our calendars. The feast of St. Joseph, or La Festa di San Giuseppe in Italian, survives as a tribute to Italian culture and food. It honors the very St. Joseph who was the husband of the Virgin Mary and stepfather of Jesus, and as such this feast day also serves as Father's Day in Italy. One impressive tradition of this would soon face good times "'in. Holidays like St. Pat- rick's Day and St. Joseph's e Day tell us that true luck means counting our bless- ings and holding on to hope. St. Patrick's Day falls on March 17 th, and is named after a British man who was captured and brought to Ireland as a slave. While in Ireland, this Patrick ex- perienced a religious con- version and became a saint. Though this holiday is strongly associated with Ireland, it is also well-known = gBIgl, 1'@11111 IOLID $ | ' -- EXTRA SPENDING MONEY- ] - l Hours lOd30 pm every day. Saturdays until 3:30 pm Pe?Ongce.V 24 K  781-286-CASH We Buy Diamonds, Gold and Silver leelry We Buy GoM and Silver Coins J [ - Insurance 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 laden with breads and past- ries. Sicilian families may include fava beans on the Tavolata to express their gratitude (in this holiday, luck plays a major role as well) for the crop that saved the island from a famine in the Middle Ages. St. Joseph's Day features prominently in many stories repeated in family lore. My father recalls spending the eve of St. Joseph's Day scurrying around the woods and fields near his Abruzzi home, gath- ering logs for big village bonfires in the town square. He also remembers the pe- riod around this holiday as a time for outdoor excur- sions, when the scent of peach and apricot blossoms filled the air. However, most mentions of St. Joseph's Day in my family will surely culminate in talks about zeppole, or the fried donut- like pastries typical of this holiday. The zeppole my father brings home are sweet and filled with cream. My maternal grandmother cooks a more savory variety, made with potato. Either way, they are delicious. St. Joseph's Day is yet an- other spring holiday filled with good food and the com- fort of family, and the grati- tude I feel" for the things extends beyond the festival itself. Luck can be a hard concept to comprehend. There are many times when I want to hide from the world be- cause I believe that I can never catch a lucky break. Everyone has experienced those days when every bit of news is disappointing, every mishap inevitable. However, spring holidays like St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day remind us that there is much for which to feel thankful, and that the wheel of fortune will soon swing our way again. Furthermore, they remind us that for the most part we are the architects of our own luck, and our prospects of good fortune begin when we start to realize the beauty in life. A field of fresh clover, warm-baked bread, the hug of a family member and flowers peeking from the ground are all little things that often go unnoticed but really should be counted as lucky aspects of our lives. By realizing our luck and extending a hand to those less fortunate, we will be a force of good karma in the world, shining brightly like the spring sun. Ally Di Censo is a Graduate Student in History at the Uni- versity of Massachusetts Bos- ton. She appreciates any com- ments and suggestions abou[ Italian holidays and folklore at Get Big Results For more information, call 617,227-8929. Evolution in Our Personal Lives "Live like y'ou will die tomorrow. Learn like you will live forever. " z Back when I wag a college student and newspaper edi- tor on campus, I wrote of the My Lai Affair of 1968 when it was discovered that American soldiers commit- ted what could only be termed as a massacre of men, women and children during the brutalizing Vietnam War. However, in my commentary written through the mind of a young 20-something news- paper editor, I blamed the higher-ups for all the kill- ings and said the soldiers were scapegoats for the generals and politicians in Washington running the war. However, 30 years later on the anniversary of that horrible war crime, without reading my earlier piece, I had evolved in my life as a then 50-year-old human be- ing. In that 1998 piece, I blamed the soldiers at the scene for the killings that took place. It seemed as an older guy with many years of life experiences under my belt, I now felt that all of us individually are responsible for our individual actions. There is right and there is wrong. We know the dif- ference between the two. Where earlier I saw the sol- diers as scapegoats for the military brass, I now saw them copping out on their brutal actions on that long ago day at My Lai. End. I dis- -- Gandhi covered I wasn't the same guy in 1998 that I was way back as a college student. I had grown as a human be- ing and changed many of my views I had held too tightly at an earlier age. If I had stayed in that place, it would have meant I was incapable of growing and none of us can live without growing. The older I get, the more I realize that life is a pre- cious gift of time that can be snatched at a moment's notice by someone infinitely more powerful than us. In many ways life is like infin- ity. We can only limit our- selves but infinity is for for- ever. Our negative attitudes should be finite. We should live to outgrow them but learn from them too. Like Gandhi said about his life, "Live like you are going to die but learn like we will live forever." My "My Lai" story opened up my eyes to growing and evolving into something and somebody better than who we once thought we were. I can still picture that old photo of that massacre that magazines ran showing bodies piled atop each other in a shallow grave. The young soldiers apparently thought they could bury the truth but they were wrong since the truth lies within us forever. MAPVI & Perkins School for the Blind Invite You to a Beeping Easter Egg Hunt/ Saturday, March 30 th 10:00 am We'll meet at the Grousbeck Center on the Perkins campus in Water- town for snacks, crafts and an egg hunt. The eggs will be in three separate ar- eas: one for children with vision, one for children with low or no vision and one for children in wheel- chairs. The second two ar- eas will have beeping eggs! All children mast be accompanied by an adult. FThis event is made possible through special funding,... Ld6m the St Lucy's Club of Boston. Thank you! "" PLEASE RSVP BY MARCH 16, 2013 eserve your spot at this event by contacting Amber , nar at or 617-923-1241.i,t s include how many adults will be attendingand-:, ny kids will be hunting in each area (si] a,,,tsually impaired area or wheelchair area):  ] " BRING YOUR OWN BASKET! " )rlzes for the children who fin in each section and little is . , . ,