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July 28, 2017     Post-Gazette
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July 28, 2017

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PAGE 4 POST-GAZE'FrE, JULY 28, 2017 Lammas, TheFirst Harvest by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz held in honor of a god of light known as Lugh. Lughnasadh by Sal Giarratani celebrations involved igniting .... bonfires, trekking to mountain- Trivializing Street Violence Over Sugar Drinks? tops in order to be closer to the Lammas, a wonderful seasonal holiday that carries with it the poignant symbolism of harvest and the arrival of autumn. Laminas, which occurs on August 1st, was a widely cel- ebrated feast in Europe until the Industrial Age pushed it into obscurity. Fortunately, interest in this rustic festival has been rekindled recently across Europe and the United States. Lammas stems from the ancient Celts, who viewed the holiday as the first day of autumn. Modern audiences may find it hard to associate the first days of August with the fall, as the temperatures still soar to ninety-degree heat and the leaves remain full and vibrantly green. However, Lammas honors the start of the agricultural autumn, when farmers harvest grain along with the first fruits of the year. Indeed, the very name Laminas hearkens back to this harvest, as it derives from loaf-mass, the ritual in which bread made from the first harvested grain of the year was brought to the local church for a blessing. Preceding Lammas was the pre-Christian festival known as Lughnasadh (pronounced loo-na-sah), a harvest feast I can feel the month of August approaching like a golden ray of sun, a month perfectly poised between the warm, blithe nature of summer and the rhythmic pulses of the autumn. Back-to- school ads beckon from televi- sion commercials and posters plastered on shop windows, recalling the scent of freshly sharpened pencils and smooth notebooks. The honey-colored sunset occurs earlier and earlier each evening, prompting me to spend cozy nights indoors with a homemade meal. This is the time for the high produce of summer, for the delectable tomatoes and tom and zucchini that line the stalls of farmers' markets, and also for the crisp first fruits of the autumn, such as succulent red and green apples. However, whenever August looms near, my mind always drifts to the summer I spent in Italy ten years ago. Throughout the quiet month of August, it was common to see round, tightly bundled bales of hay baking under the sun in the fields that dotted the Italian countryside. After all, late sum- mer in Italy means la mietitura, or haying, in preparation for the autumn months. It was in Italy that I truly felt the power of Happy Anniversary Sulmona Meat Market, Inc. Nestled in the/wart of Boston~ Historic North End i 11 Saiern St. Nortt~ End Boston, MA 02113 T 617.523.4111 F 6i7.742.1113 joe beneventosboston.corn www.beneventosboston.corn Prime Choice Beef, Veal, Lamb, Pork & Poultry Specializing in Italian Sausages 617-742-2791 32 A Parmenter Street - Boston, MA 02113 J Best Wishes from Sedurre Boutique 28 1/2 Prince Street - Boston's North IZnd 617.72o.44oo Robyn Dell'Orfano - .. ( Congratulations on 122 Years of Service 1[ to the Italian Community [] II (',.A.S.IT. INC. II Uff. M. Gioconda Motta, President[I 37 Water Street, Suite #4, Wakefield, MA 01880 J] 781-224-0532 [ I ww sun, gathering the first fruits of the harvest, and dancing. Evidence of Lughnasadh cel- ebrations has even been found in Northern Italy, a region with Celtic influence! Lammas is still" a holiday in Ireland today, full of reunions between families and friends, and ritual bless- ings of fields by parish priests. Lammas remains one of my favorite holidays because it combines the communal plea- sures of summer -- reuniting with loved ones and enjoying the outdoors -- with the honor- ing of the Earth's bounty, which will become more evident as the autumn progresses. Every Laminas, when I can sense the changing of the sea- sons pulsing beneath my feet, I also honor grain by making a focaccia. The recipe I use is a traditional one made with rosemary, sea salt, onions, and the indispensable Italian staple, olive oil. I admire the way the water mixes with the flour to create dough as ffby magic, and I feel a special kinship with my ancestors who scraped a riving out of Italian farmland by using the most basic ingredients. Indeed, my Italian forbearers viewed holidays like Laminas (Continued on Page 14) RISTORANTE Maurizio Badolato oO 190 North Street Boston, MA 02113 617.523.4480 Cell 617.818.6494 www. On the Freedom Trail next to Paul Revere's House in the Historic North End. Recently, I read a news story in the Providence Journal out of the Washington Post that seemed to trivialize the grow- ing issue of needless violence in cities across America. The City of Chicago has become so violent, President Trump sent in federal law enforcement to assist the Chicago Police Department. However, when black pastors in Washington, DC, who have recently filed a lawsuit against Coca Cola, compared the death toll from the human carnage on the streets of America's cities with folks dying from heart dis- ease, diabetes, and stroke due to consumption of sugary sodas, they certainly got headlines. Especially when Pastor Delman Coates was quoted in the news story stating, "It's become really clear to me that we're losing more people to the sweets than to the streets." How sweet it isn't to make a goofy sound bite about street violence. How about religious leaders less interested in suiting some- body for choices people are making. No one is forced to guzzle down too many Coca Colas or give soda to infants during church services. People make choices all of the time and, yes, while we are bombarded with advertisments for this or that product, in the end the choice is ours. Health risks surround us 24/7 from the time we get out of bed to the time we go to bed. Blaming others for personal choices gets headlines but doesn't solve the issue at hand. We do many things that put our health at risk. It isn't just soda or, as we used to call it in Boston, "tonic." We eat too much. We don't exercise enough. Some drink too much alcohol. Do we decide to just ban everything bad or do we educate people about the health risks? We get to choose what goes inside of us. Rather than suing in the name of their congregations, perhaps pastors need to use their pulpits to educate about the health risks many take without even thinking. 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