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June 17, 2016

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PAGE 4 POST-GAZE'I-I'E, JUNE 17, 2016 L 'Anno BeUo:Marvelousby Ally A Year Ce.o Midsummer Symynkywi= in ItaliannaviansflowersFOlklore on c l rate heads, this Scandi- holiday by Sal Giarratani ! by dancing around Maypoles bedecked with greenery, build- The Evil of Two Lessers? ing bonfires near lakes and riv- ers, and sitting down to feasts I thought we would never have Getting back to the headline featuring summer ingredients another crazy election like the for this piece. With Hillary like strawberries and potatoes, one I viewed back in 1968 when Clinton heading into November Meanwhile, girls in Russia and I was a 20-year-old college stu- against Donald Trump, you can Eastern Europe float flowerdent. That whole year was cra- bet the fireworks haven't even garlands down rivers and at- zy, and sadly very violent, with begun yet. tempt to foretell the future by two assassinations a month Trump is the story of a interpreting the movement of apart, Rev. Martin Luther King, political lifetime, an outsider the garlands. People in Spain Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. Presi- with no filter claws his way and Portugal celebrate the Feast dent Johnson got hounded out through 16 other candidates as of St. John the Baptist with out- of running for re-election with a he boasted he would. He won door carnivals, bonfires, street strong Democratic challenge by primary after primary, taking fairs, and the exchange of pot- Gene McCarthy and his Cleanon everyone and beating up ted herbs. Italians, of course, Gene student supporters; and everyone on the way to the top never pass up an opportunity a Southern Democrat named of the heap. for a festival, and party accord- George Wallace, Governor ofNow the battle is on. Repub- What is it about summer which fell on August ist. As a ingly on St. John the Baptist's Alabama, ran as a Third Party lican Donald Trump versus nights that make me think of result, the summer solsticeDay, especially in the cities of candidate, taking 13 percent Democrat Hillary Clinton. As magic, moonbeams, and fire-marked the midpoint of the Florence and Turin, where he of the national vote. Many say for the title of this piece, it does flies and fairies flitting about a season and as such was called is the patron saint. Outdoor he helped elect Republican seem to most voters as a race darkened forest? Perhaps the as Midsummer. In Europe, Mid- fairs and fireworks displays Richard Nixon president by a between two lessers. answer lies in the velvety hue summer heralded not only the mark the occasion. Out in the slim 43 percent to 42 percent The Democrats rally around of the evening sky, offset by the longest day of the year, but also countryside, people may enjoy margin over Democrat HubertHillary while the Republicans delicate diamond-like stars that the period after which the day- St. John's apples, or le mele di H. Humphrey. are playing the Civil War. There peek out from the late sunset, light hours would slowly short- San Giovanni. A favorite of my Actually, I also must mention seem to be many =Never Trump Or perhaps the answer resides en. For thisreason, I likeviewing father, these are small green the riots outside the Demo-Republicans" out there who in the comforting sound of the solstice as the middle rather apples so named because they cratic convention in Chicago would rather lose to Hillary than crickets and cicadas humming than the beginning of summer ripen extremely early, justthat "turned violent as anti-war win with Trump. their melody from deep within as well -- it makes little sense around the time of the solstice, protesters took on the Chicago Trump, the guy without a ill- bushes and trees. It could also to celebrate the start of summer No matter where one goes incops. Many called the police re- ter, keeps going off message and be that people tend to congre- when the sun begins to diminish Europe, charming Midsummer action a =cop riot" and Chicago saying dumb things. The latest gate outside during the warm in the sky[ Midsummer customs revelries emphasize the impor- got a big black eye over it. was about that judge born in summer twilight, illuminating later attached themselves to tance of the summer sun andThe year 1968 was such a Indiana whom Trump referred the atmosphere with candlesJune 24th, St. John the Baptist's the blessings of the season, powerful year that many col- to as a =Mexican." and lanterns from barbecuesDay, the feast commemorating The United States even boasts leges now offer political courses The race is on. Either Trump and alfresco dinners. I always the birthday of the important its own festivals full of outdoor on just that year alone, or Clinton will be the next find that the most magical of Biblical figure six months before excursions, fireworks and water Jump ahead to today, add president, unless Trump com- these nights occurs around Christmas. In Italy, St. John's -- the Fourth of July, of course[ 48 years to my life, and 2016 pletelyimplodes or Clinton gets the summer solstice, the Ion- Day customs symbolize both Above all, Midsummer is a is looking like a close second indicted. Forget Gary Johnson gest day andi shortest night of the decline of the sun after the holiday tinged with bittersweet to '68. The primaries turned and the Libertarians, not even the year. In olden times, the solstice and the sense of magic nostalgia. While it honors the into great reality TV on the Bill Weld can save that guy or summer solstice was known as which pervades the evening,height of the sun's power and GOP side, and the Democratsvice versa. midsummer, which can confuse All over the Italian countryside, the carefree days of summer, it planned their coronation ofIt's going to be a long, hot those of us who view the solstice gli fuochi di San Giovanni, or also recognizes that the hours Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders summer for all of us. I suggest as the beginning of summer St. John's bonfires, blaze from of sunlight will slowly start to kept things shaking but, in the going to the beach a lot and rather than the middle. Ancient the hilltops on the eve of the diminish once this date is past. end, the establishment won the spacing out with some good Europeans used agriculturalsaint's festival. These fires both It is a poignant reminder that day. It was, after-all, HiUary's music. Bring plenty of sun- rather than purely astronomi- mimic the power of summer sun nothing lasts forever. Yet, Mid- turn as they said. block, too. cal methods of gauging the while also symbolically implor- summer is celebrated with joy, seasons, antd so the solstice ing the sun to stay longer in the not sadness. Its celebrations was conside.'red the height of sky. Young Italians may also encourage people to enjoy the summer ratlher than its com- spend the evening gathering longest day of the year by living r...n. atulat;ons mencement.. As Christianity herbs, which are supposedly life in the present moment. We spread across the continent, imbued with mystical properties know that the year is a cycle, ]r-fl /qlL, [Jl t -FCZ Midsummer festivities became on this unusual and magicaland that we should appreciate j~A A-~ 11 1~ [l~ [l~ absorbed into the feast day of night. According to old super- each season for what it offers. St. John the Baptist, creating stitions, these herbs work espe- In the darkness of autumn and an indelible mix of traditions, cially well for romantic divina- winter reveals celebrations of The result is one of my favorite tion, and people slip them under the Earth's bounty and commu- holidays, a festival that embod- their pillows to dream of their nal feasts where families gather ies the magic and boldness of future spouse, together in joy and goodwill summer. All across Europe, similar against the cold. And yes, the Europeans in older times Midsummer and St. John the sun will be once more reborn began the summer on May ist, Baptist's Day traditions utilize in a bright blaze of glory on or May Day, the holiday that the seasonal staples of water, the winter solstice, immortal- marked the time to let livestock fire and greenery. In Scandina- ized in light-themed holidays out to graze in pastures. Sum- via, Midsummer is one of the like Hanukkah, Christmas and mer ended on Lughnasadh, the most significant holidays of the New Year's Eve. So this summer festival of the grain harvest and year, on par with Easter and solstice, live in the moment and the first fruits of the autumn, Christmas. Sporting wreaths of enjoy all that summer has to provide on the longest day of the year and let's make a vow to carry that sunshine, optimism and wondrous magic within us for the rest of the year. q~,~4~I.~,.~,'~ ~~ Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is a Graduate Student in History Public Insurance Ad]uster at the University of Massachu- Since 1969 serfs Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS about Italian holidays and folk- AUTO * HOMEOWNERS * TENANTS lore COMMERCIAL Congratulations to Jacqueline Perez, daughter of Experience makes the difference Damian and Charlotte Perez of the North End, who recently graduated from the Josiah Quincy Upper 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 _..c=* Big Results School and will be entering UMASS-Dartmouth in the Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 fan. Shown above with her proud grandparents Richard For more information, and Jacqueline Perez. All three are life-long residents Free Parking Adjacent to Building call 617-227-8929. of the North End.