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April 11, 2014     Post-Gazette
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April 11, 2014

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, APRIL 11,2014 L'AnnoBello:AYearinltalianFolklore i TH IN KINfl Italian Holy Week Customs / byAllyDiCensoSymynkywicz I i  -- ) [ April has arrived, and the these branches to church on For a sweeter kind of egg, my wonderful sensation of spring Palm Sunday. or Domenica dad would bring home a ] by Sal Giarratani  ....  [ permeates the air. No longer delle Palme. so that the gigantic chocolate uovo di ........... do I feel the chilly breath of priest could bless them. This Pasqua (literally "Easter egg") Tile Grand Old Party iS in Pathetic ,,,,,,e"e snow against my skin. but quaint ritual exemplifies the from a specialty shop in the rather revel in days when I can step outside in a lighter coat, physically and mentally free. Tender purple crocuses adorn moist patches of dirt near my house, and I also spy the strong green stems of daffodils peeking out of the dirt, waiting to blossom into sunbursts-in just a matter of days. However, the most prevalent signs of spring seem to involve Easter, the joyous holiday of rebirth that quickly approaches. Candies shaped like bunnies and chicks line store shelves, egg garlands decorate front doors. Yet before we can cel= ebrate the Easter feast, we first must pass through H01Y Week, the seven days before Easter Sunday. This week sports its own folk traditions and customs, that effortlessly blend together into the tap- estry of Easter festivities. In Italy, each day of La Sett/mana Santa, or Holy Week, boasts its own significance and re- lated practices. Collectively, they extend the Italian cel- ebration of Easter to include many more days than just Sunday, providing people with many opportunities to cher- ish the renewal of spring. This year, Holy Week be- gins on April 13 th, which is Palm Sunday. This day honors the procession of Jesus into Jerusalem, when people triumphantly wel- comed Him by waving palm branches in the air. Beyond its religious significance, Palm Sunday also has deep roots as a seasonal celebra- tion of spring, honoring that time of the year when trees are in bloom. My father remembers collecting olive tree branches in the moun- tains and fields outside his home in the Abruzzi when he was young. He and his friends would then bring many pleasures of spring: outdoor excursions with friends, the rebirth of nature, spiritual awakening. I can picture him walking through the sun-kissed forests and fields in search of the per- fect branches, the same meadows and woods of which parents whispered tales of magical beings and spring- time sprites since ancient times. Throughout the re- mainder of Holy Week, Italians spring-clean their homes and buy ingredients for the Easter feast. The cul- mination of Holy Week for many is Good Friday, or Venerdi Santo. Processions of solemn, black-robed figures wind their way through cities and villages on this day, commemorating the death of Jesus. When these processions focus on the Vir- gin Mary, they are known as the Addolorata, a name which refers to Mary's pain and grief. Thus, the Italian Holy Week comprises a spec- trum of human emotions, beginning with the triumph of spring and ending in dark- ness and tragedy. All of this, however, is in preparation for the unfettered joy that characterizes Easter. Holy Week has always been a time for Easter prepa- ration in my family as well, further serving as yet another chance t 9 honor our Italian traditiofis. My par- ents would devote a day, usu- ally Holy Saturday, to dyeing and decorating Easter eggs with my brother and me. An egg is hard and cold on the outside but contains life inside, thus making it a perfect symbol of Easter renewal. When I colored the eggs in glittery or pastel hues, they reminded me of the cheerful flowers blos- soming outside my home. North End sometime during Holy Week..We would wait until Easter to open it and discover the treats inside, so it tantalized me throughout the week, sitting on our counter in it shiny foil wrap- ping. As a young girl, I also accompanied my mother on shopping trips during Holy Week to find a perfect spring dress for Easter -- after all, Italian superstition states that a person must wear at least one garment on the holiday! Finally, we spent the week planning our Easter menu, including the deli- cious ricotta pies that would provide the perfect finale to our holiday dinner. Due to these charming little cus- toms, I have always viewed Holy Week as a period of shivering anticipation for the major feast to come, a re- minder that sometimes the process of waiting can make things so much better. Holy Week is a time to honor spring and the renais- sance it offers. It encourages us to seek the comfort of nature and community, to revel in the warm sunshine and find spiritual comfort. Holy Week prepares us for the unbridled happiness of Easter, while offering its own unique traditions that characterize this period of anticipation and readiness. In Italy, these traditions include everything from col- lecting olive branches to decorating eggs. This Holy Week, take the opportunity to enjoy the rebirth of nature before Easter arrives, notic- ing the flowers and birds that seem to wait for the holiday as eagerly as any of us. By paying attention to this special week, we extend the promise and joy of Eas- ter so much further into our lives. 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 NEAA Opening Pcy NEAA opening day will be in honor of Ralph DeMarco, former NEAA coach and vol- unteer. His family will throw out the first ball for the 2:00 pm Majors Youth Base- ball game. We will have a BBQ that will run all day starting around II:00 am, free for all players and their family members. The DeMarco fam- ily is a Major Sponsor of the Agency 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 2014 Opening Day event. NEAA is still looking for a few additional sponsors to help support this event. A dona- tion of any amount can be sent to: NEAA, c/o John Romano, 30 North Bennet Street, Boston, Massachu- setts 02113. DRIVERS - Home Nightly oston F/atted! - Great Pay, Benefits! I CDL-A, 1yr. Exp. Req. / Estenson Logistics / Apply: / 1-866-336-9642 . ,,,) While many readers see me as a conservative Re- publican, I am no such ani- mal. I like ,belonging to a strong and vibrant political party. I was one of the first baby boomers growing in post-WWII America. An era that saw the growth of the middle-class and the exo- dus of urban America for the suburbs. All wasn't perfect with the nation as the Civil Rights struggles showed in the '50s and into the '60s. However, here in this area of the country, people could still strive to succeed. My father always believed that each generation should surpass the previous. My father, unlike his own parents, was so proud of graduating from Boston Evening High School as an adult studying at night to learn and grow. I remem- ber how proud he and my mother were when I stood on stage getting my college degree from Boston State College and how proud they were again when my younger brother graduated from New England School of Law and became a lawyer. Today America is the same America that it once was at my birth. Back then, we felt as a nation that we could aspire and strive beyond our reach and create something newer and better every day. Back when I was born, President Truman upset Thomas Dewey for presi- dent. We had two strong political parties that seemed to find some medium ground from which to argue and debate issues. There were no so-called wing-nuts pull- ing the Democrats and Republicans to the far edges of political dialogue. Today part of the problem here at home and down in Washington, DC, is that both parties seem to have for- gotten how to govern to- gether. The Republicans look like they have no clue on anything and the Demo- crats seem to know how to campaign well but they seem unable to govern. Recently, NY Mayor Bill DiBlasio got burned at the home opener for the New York Mets before the home- town fans. The media said it was because the mayor remains a member of Red Sox Nation. However, I think it is because he is a moon- bat liberal Democrat who loves to spend other peoples' money. The other day, Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal showed his hand on who he con- siders a conservative Repub- lican. He's pushing NJ Gov- ernor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as well as U.S. Sena- tor Marco Rubio, R-FL, who is mired down in sixth place in most polls for the 2016 presidential sweeps since his support of amnesty for illegals. Back in Massachusetts, the state GOP now finds itself in a mess of its own creation by a Tea Party conservative being denied access to the upcoming gu- bernatorial primary. Repub- licans insiders seemingly trying to clear the field for Charlie Baker have now opened a can of worms with the lawsuit taking Charlie Baker and the Republicans off message. At this point right now, Hillary Clinton shouldn't be a presidential candidate until she is ready to come clean-on Benghazi. I still can't get past her statement about how it doesn't make a difference how Benghazi happened. It does to me, whether they were lying when they blamed the at- tack on a bad movie review, rather than being what it was proven to be, a terrorist attack mounted on the 12 th anniversary of 9/11. As far as back here in Mas- sachusetts, Charlie Baker isn't going anywhere again this year. Whomever the D6mocrats pick in the 2014 state primary for governor will win in November and by a good margin. More and more folks are leaving both parties and becoming inde- pendents because they are tired of all the political malarkey from both parties. That is why Jeff McCormick will challenge both parties and is running for governor as an independent in the November election. The Democrats are too arrogant and the Republi- cans are too pathetic. If we had two strong political par- ties once again, the mess this state and nation is in would be history. We don't. We have a mess. I remain a Reagan Demo- crat until the Republicans can once again find their mission and voice. Right now, the Democrats rule llke they have no opponents. That is bad for America and bad for liberty too. The sleeping elephant must awake or get kicked in the .... by the hee-haw- ing donkey. i!i!iiiiiiiiii iii!iiii!i!iiiiii!iiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!i!!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiiiiii!Ji!iiiiiiiiiii!iiiiii!iiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiii!i!i!iiii!ii!iiiiii!iii i!iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iii!iiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii  i iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii;iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii;iiiiiiiiiiiiiii!iiiiiiii!iii!iiiii!!iii!ii!!iiiiiii!ii!i!iiiii NN: ST. MICHAEL CEMETERY  C KEMAT6RY 500 Canterbury Street The Respectful Way. Boston, MA 02131 617.524.1036 Serving the Italian Community for Over I00 Years!