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April 10, 2015     Post-Gazette
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April 10, 2015
 

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Page 4 POST-GAZE&apos;I-rE, APRIL 10, 2015 Easter Sunday has passed, ies of Turin and Milan were ._- but there is still a whole the first to be freed from the by Sal Gzarratam month of spring and sun- shine to enjoy in April. April smells like fresh flowers and the pungent scent of trees after a delicate rainfall, like balmy breezes and juicy strawberries. As I sit to write this article, a soft rain drizzles down outside the window, making the grass seem lush and greener than a mint sprig, the pavement shiny and smooth like obsid- ian. I am reminded of the old rhyme I cheerfully intoned as a young girl: "April show- ers bring May flowersI" In- deed, April is the time of the year when spring finally feels in full bloom, when flow- ers, rain and abundant sun- shine meld together to form an energetic, playful month. The origin of April's name also reflects its qualities of rejuvenation and rebirth. April derives from the Latin word aperire, which means "to open." Truly, all of nature is opening and awakening at this point, from the purple tulips peeking out of the dirt to the buds on tree branches and the baby animals walk- ing on wobbly legs. As the Latin origin of the name suggests, April is a signifi- cant month in Italy. Not only is it a full month of spring and the frequent home of Easter, but April brims with its own folk traditions, holi- days and customs particular to Italy. The following is a sampling of these quirky and culturally rich practices: April Proverbs: Italian folklore abounds with mul- tiple proverbs related to months and times of the year. These hearken back to the days when Italian soci- ety was primarily based on agriculture. Farmers need- ed to pay special heed to the weather in order to deter- mine important and vital times like when to plant and what crop yields to expect. As such, most of the Italian proverbs related to April (which I gathered from the wonderful website italy- revisited.org) concern them- selves with the weather of the month. One proverb de- clares: "L'Aprile piovoso, fail Maggio grazioso." Trans- lating to "a rainy April makes a grateful May," this is the Italian version of the April showers bring May flow- ers dictum. Another proverb says "Marzo tinge, Aprile dipinge'-- meaning that what March dirties, April cleans up; just as April rains and vegetation takes over the muddy or snowy change- able weather of March. How- ever, another proverb ad- monishes "Aprile, non ti scoprire." It warns against discarding your coat during April, as there are still cool days left! Rome's Birthday (April 21 st) and St. Mark's Day (April 25th)" Italy is filled with many city-specific holidays, and two of the most intrigu- ing fall during April. Rome's Birthday honors the found- ing of the city, all the way back in 753 B.C. Romans cel- ebrate with festivals, pa- rades, concerts, and fire- work displays throughout la cittd eternal (the eternal city). Four days later, the charm- ing maritime city of Venice displays similar gaiety for St. Mark's Day, or Festa di San Marco, the feast day of Venice's patron saint. Car- nivals, markets and parties center around the enormous St. Mark's Square, the beat- ing heart of the city. Cel- ebrate both holidays by enjoying food from each region. How about a plate of spaghetti aUa carbonara (spa- ghetti with egg sauce) on Rome's Birthday and some risi e bisi, or risotto with peas, on St. Mark's Day? Liberation Day (April 25th): This patriotic holiday honors the liberation of Italy from Nazi and fascist occu- pation during World War II. On April 25 of 1945, the cit- LUCIA RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine 415 Hanover Street, Boston 61 7.367.2353 11 MountVernon Street, Winchester 781.729.0515 PPivate I:unc|ion I00ooms any Occasion Ch,+.+,,l,+.+.<+ B',0000Iol Show+,.- Sl, ow+,. B+',tkd++ BePe<::,vemenl, I=tc. Donato Frattaroli donato @ luciaboston.corn www'lucieristmnte'crn J occupation, and their libera- tion prompted a chain of events which culminated in Italy's freedom. Italy cel- ebrates Liberation Day, or Festa della Liberazione, with processions, speeches and countrywide events. My an- cestors, including my grand- parents, still lived in Italy during the Second World War and had to deal with all the horrors that accompany an armed conflict, from bomb- ings to mob violence to food shortages. As such, I always feel compelled to remind people of this springtime feast, a holiday commemo- rating the ordinary Italians who fought so hard to free their beautiful land from the terror of fascism. May Day Eve (April 30th]: I love this holidayl Since ancient times, European folklore has attributed the first day of May with magi- cal properties. People be- lieved that elves, fairies and witches were especially ac- tive on this day. In Italy, May Day is known as Calen- dimaggio, and celebrations begin the night before, on the last evening of April. Cit- ies hold festivals and events with a spooky twist, replete with witch decorations and magical themes. Honor this day by taking a walk during dusk and contemplating the wonder and mystery still left in the world. Sagre: In conclusion, I would like to point out that towns and cities all over Italy hold sagre, or food festivals, throughout the year. They focus on seasonal, local in- gredients and the various way to highlight them in de- licious dishes. Most Italian sagre focus on the country's premiere spring vegetable, the artichoke, or carciofo. I absolutely love artichokes and look forward to them every spring. Enjoy arti- chokes the way Italians do -- stuffed in pastas like ravioli or tortellini, or sim- ply marinated. Yum! So there you go -- wonder- ful ways to celebrate Italian heritage throughout April. When spring is in the air, everyone is in the mood for festivity, and Italy is no dif- ferent! Whichever holidays and customs you choose to honor, make sure you feast with joy in your heart and optimism for the bounty of spring. 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. Iran Played Us Good Well, according to all the newspaper headlines on Good Friday, the United States, Iran and five other world powers came to an "affirmation" on a pact that will be completed and signed in June. The day before, President Obama held another of his Rose Garden appearances where he basically said the deal about to be signed is the best thing since the inven- tion of sliced bread. He said it would be clearly verifiable for the world to see. He also took time to chastise his Republican critics. He made it a point to state that this would be a deal between not the Obama White House and Iran, but between the United States and Iran. However, that can't hap- pen until the U.S. Senate does its constitutionally charged duty to ratify the agreement. If the Senate doesn't, this pact, which will be a U.N. Treaty, will have no force of law for the United States. We have a president who clearly sees himself as a citizen of the world, where apparently he holds more faith with the impotent United Nations than he does with the Legislative Branch of our federal government. The Iranian Republic, and I use the term loosely, has "played us." Instead of a bad deal in April, we could get a worse deal by June dur- ing the affirmation period. Already, inspections of their nuclear facilities must be planned with the Iranians. No surprise visits to see what is really happening I guess. My father used to read a lot of history going back cen- turies. He studied a guy named Sun Tzu from China- and found him quite inter- esting. Five centuries be- fore the birth of Christ, he wrote "The Art of War" in which he advised that "the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." Sun Tzu knew that "all warfare is based on deception." This great general told the troops to "let your plans be dark and impenetrable." The Islamo-nazis of Iran know the ancient strategy of Sun Tzu well and used it in Switzerland at the nego- tiation table with China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany. It was their battle- field and they came out pretty much the real win- ners in Switzerland. The Obama White House has painted itself into a corner of its own making. While Obama seems to play politics, the Iranians play realpolitiks. The White House seems on an ill-advised course of pushing the Republicans into supporting its historic deal. White House flak Josh Not-so-Earnest accuses the GOP of pushing something "not at all in the best inter- ests of the United States." From this view, it looks like just the opposite. Iran feels emboldened into be- coming the Big Man in the Mid-East, which will only bode ill for any so-called peace in the Mid-East or in the world. Those who do not learn from the past are only doomed to repeat it. Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS RICHARD SETTIPANE Public Insurance Adjuster Experience makes the difference! 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Boston 617.523.3456 Free Parking Adjacent to Building