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April 7, 2017     Post-Gazette
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April 7, 2017

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PAGE 4 POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 7, 2017 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore Holy Week in Italy: A Time of Tradition by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz After a damp and bitterly cold year when tree branches begin March in which every raindrop to blossom. My father grew up felt like the pinprick of an ice in the mountainous region of crystal, I look forward to the the Abruzzi in Italy, where he promise of Easter, the prime would spend Palm Sunday, spring holiday. Signs of Easter or Domenica delle Palme, col- sprout around me as surely as lecting the olive branches that the first purple tulips spring grew plentifully in the hills and from the rich soil. Marshmal- fields near his home. This was low Peeps wink playfuUy at me the same country wilderness, as they line shop selves in bril- laden with ancient orchards and liant hues from robin's egg blue thick forests, about which vil- to bright tutu pink. Baskets lage elders whispered stories of and wreaths boast eggs dyed sprites hiding under rocks and with bold solid colors or glittery wolves darting among the trees. patinas. At the mall, costumed My father and his friends would Easter Bunnies pose for family then bring the branches to the photos with children in frilly local parish, where the priest dresses and crooked bowties, would bless them. This quaint However, as much as the com- sylvan ritual embodied all the ing Easter fills me with pleasant pleasures of spring, such as anticipation, I am reminded that communal outdoor excursions the week preceding the holiday and metaphorical links to the brims with its own unique cus- themes of rebirth and spiritual toms and traditions. The week's awakening. Throughout Holy very name, Holy Week, reveals Week, Italians also give their its profound importance in the homes a thorough spring clean- religious year. Italians call Holy ing in preparation for Easter Week la Settimana Santa and and the days of visiting to fol- celebrate its arrival with much low. Holy Week ends with Good fanfare. The Holy Week festivi- Friday, or Venerdi Santo, the ties in Italy emphasize seasonal solemn remembrance of Jesus' spring folklore while also paying Crucifixion. In Italy, processions homage to the intricate and in- of black-robed participants set spiring spirituality of this peri- the somber and pensive atmo- od. Whether filled with displays sphere of the day. Processions of palm leaves or colorful eggs, that focus on the Virgin Mary Holy Week in Italy and around are known as the Addolorata, a the world heralds the Easter name indicative of Mary's grief holiday with the reverence, love and pain. Therefore, Holy Week and joy it deserves, begins in triumph but ends in Holy Week begins this year on tragedy, encompassing all the April 9th, which is Palm Sunday. emotional spectrum necessary Palm Sunday commemorates for the joy of Easter. Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem, For me, Holy Week has always when adoring crowds welcomed meant Easter preparations, par- Him by waving palm branches in ticularly those with an emphasis the air. Along with its religious on the Italian traditions of my significance, Palm Sunday re- ancestors. My parents would mains attuned to the seasonal reserve a day, usually Holy Sat- beat of spring, symbolically urday, for decorating eggs with falling during the time of the my brother and me. Eggs have KITCHEN & BATH MASONRY REMODELING CONSTRUCTION Construction Services, LLC * DEMOLITION Remodeling & Design * FENCES & DECKS Bostonia n c onstructionservic es. c om Licensed & Insured Bostonianc onstructionServic es@gmail.c om formed an integral part of Easter celebrations since ancient times due to their rebirth symbolism: though they appear cold and sterile on the outside, they con- tain new life inside. I always en- joyed picking the egg dyes, and I would often chose a bright Or glittery color to match the cheer- ful hues of the flowers growing outside my home. Easter eggs form a sweet part of Italian holiday customs as well. Dur- ing Holy Week, my father would always buy a gigantic chocolate uovo di Pasqua (literally, "Easter egg~) from a specialty shop in the North End, wrapped in pastel foil. We would patiently wait until Easter to ceremoniously break the egg open, eagerly an- ticipating the treats concealed within -- usually candy. An Italian superstition decrees that everyone must wear at least one new piece of clothing on Easter, again illustrating the theme of renewal central to the holiday, and as such my mom and I would often shop for a new outfit during Holy Week. When I was a child, this meant a lacy, flowery dress. Though I no longer seek out itchy dresses, I do pick my new clothes with bright colors or a flowered pattern to reflect the spring season. Finally, my mother and I spend much of Holy Week planning our Easter menu. On Holy Saturday, I bake . my traditional Italian ricotta pie to be served at the feast the next day. Therefore, I associate Holy Week with the joy and promise of an exciting holiday to come. Its customs have instiUedin me an appreciation for the blooming new season of spring, for the spirituality of Easter, and for my Italian heritage as a whole. Holy Week is a profound and multffaceted period of the year. It revels in the springtime and the resurgence of nature all around us, from the flowers flut- tering proudly in the sunlight to the bunnies munching on the fresh green grass. It grants us an opportunity to enjoy the warm spring weather and to find peace and reflection in the spiritual traditions of the pre- E.aster season. In Italy, people honor Holy Week by engaging in symbolic rituals like collecting olive branches on Palm Sunday, cleaning their homes, and deco- rating eggs. No matter which customs we take to heart, we should celebrate them in a way that expresses gratitude toward nature and the cycle of the year. Easter, after all, is the supreme holiday of hope and rebirth, and Holy Week encapsulates that feeling. Holy Week teaches us that ff we live in harmony with nature and with respect for the ways of our ancestors, we will find a strength inside us brighter than any spring sun. Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is a Graduate Student in History at the University of Massachu- setts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folk- lore at adicenso89@gmail, com. i DIAMONDS I FIOLEX ESTATE J EWELRY Bought & Sold Jewelers Exch. Bldg. Jim (617) 263-7766 by Sal Giarratani Puerto Rican Governor Warns Baker of Puerto Rican Flood When I saw this news story at first, I thought it was just another piece of Fake News. But it isn't, it's real news/We all know right now that Puerto Rico is in financial trouble and has been for some time. The governor of Puerto Rico reportedly sent Governor Charlie Baker a letter warning him that the approaching %lifff in federal Medicaid funding on the paradise islafld under the Affordable Care Act could flood the mainland with thousands of migrant Puerto Ricans with many of them flooding into the City of Chelsea in the near future. Governor Ricardo Rossello has reportedly called upon Baker to ask our Congressional delegation to seek more funds for healthcare on the island. Warning that, while the island's financial picture is still rather bleak, to put it kindly, Massachusetts could possibly see a sea of Puerto Ricans flooding into the Bay State and moving into cities like Chelsea. With enough Medicaid funding on the island being called into question, many see Puerto Ricans going to mainland places like right here to qualify for Medicaid, which could cost state taxpayers as much as $1.3 billion over the coming decade. The letter to Baker estimates that in their projections, the state would have to find up to $2.6 billion to serve Puerto Ricans coming here for Medicaid reasons. We would pick up half that tab. I don't like the governor of Puerto Rico trying to get our support with the apparent threat of a human flood of migrants if Governor Baker doesn't help make things better for Governor Rossello. I have always respected the people of Puerto Rico. I have family members who are Puerto Rican. Puerto Rico is a great place despite its elected folks and politicians who seem to use its own citizens as fodder in a campaign for increased funding. These folks need to take a long hard look on why they ran for office in the first place. Puerto Rican citizens are U.S. citizens, and have a right to move anywhere in this nation they wish. Governor Baker doesn't need to be reminded that Puerto Ricans are headed here, there, or anywhere. By the way, the Governor's Office in Puerto Rico sent similar letters to the governors of Florida, Connecticut, Ohio, New Jersey, Georgia, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Virginia, and Wisconsin. If I were Governor Baker I would have marked the letter "Return to Sender" when it hit the governor's desk. Viva La Puerto Rico. Viva America. Viva better politicians. 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