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PAGE 4 POST-GAZETTE, JULY 29, 2016 L "Anno BeUo: A Year in Italian Folklore Lammas and the Bounty of the Earth by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz a special significance precisely because bread played such an by Sal Giarratani essential role in the diet. Bread, I can feel the month of Au- and vibrantly green. However, gust approaching like a golden Lammas honors the start of ray of sun, a month perfectly the agricultural autumn, when poised between the warm, blithe farmers harvest grain along nature of summer and the with the first fruits of the year. rhythmic pulses of the autumn. Indeed, the very name Lammas Back-to-school ads beckon hearkens back to this harvest, from television commercials as it derives from loaf-mass, and posters plastered on shop the ritual in which bread made windows, recalling the scent from the first harvested grain of freshly sharpened pencils of the year was brought to the and smooth notebooks. The local church for a blessing. honey-colored sunset occurs Preceding Lammas was the earlier and earlier each evening, pre-Christian festival known prompting me to spend cozy as Lughnasadh (pronounced nights indoors with a home- loo-na-sah), a harvest feast made meal. This is the time for held in honor of a god of light the high produce of summer, known as Lugh. Lughnasadh for the delectable tomatoes and celebrations involved igniting corn and zucchini that line the bonfires, trekking to mountain- stalls of farmers' markets, and tops in order to be closer to the also for the crisp first fruits of sun, gathering the first fruits the autumn, such as succulent of the harvest, and dancing. red and green apples. How- Evidence of Lughnasadh cel- ever, whenever August looms ebrations has even been found near, my mind always drifts in Northern Italy, a region with to the summer I spent in Italy Celtic influence! Laminas is still ten years ago. Throughout the a holiday in Ireland today, full quiet month of August, it was of reunions between families common to see round, tightly and friends, and ritual bless- bundled bales of hay baking ings of fields by parish priests. under the sun in the fields that Lammas remains one of my dotted the Italian countryside, favorite holidays because it After all, late summer in Italy combines the communal plea- means la mietitura, or haying, sures of summer -- reuniting in preparation for the autumn with loved ones and enjoying months. It was in Italy that I the outdoors--with the honor- truly felt the power of Lammas, ing of the Earth's bounty, which a wonderful seasonal holiday will become more evident as the that carries with it the poignant autumn progresses. symbolism of harvest and the Every Lammas, when I can arrival of autumn, sense the changing of the sea- Lammas, which occurs on sons pulsing beneath my feet, August 1st, was a widely cel- I also honor grain by making ebrated feast in Europe until a focaccia. The recipe I use is the Industrial Age pushed it a traditional one, made with into obscurity. Fortunately, in- rosemary, sea salt, onions, and terest in this rustic festival has the indispensable Italian staple, been rekindled recently across olive oil. I admire the way the Europe and the United States. water mixes with the flour to Lammas stems from the ancient create dough as ff by magic, and Celts, who viewed the holiday as I feel a special kinship with my the first day of autumn. Modern ancestors who scraped a living audiences may find it hard to out of Italian farmland by us- associate the first days of Au- ing'the most basic ingredients. gust with the fall, as the temper- Indeed, my Italian forbearers atures still soar to ninety-degree viewed holidays like Lammas heat and the leaves remain full or harvest like la mietitura with known as pane (pah-neh) in Italian, is more than a food, but also a cultural touchstone, a staple that brought life to peas- ants and formed the basis of the society's major dishes. Bread serves a deeply religious func- tion in Italian life as well, as the bread honored in the sacrament of the Eucharist symbolizes a spiritual nourishment that is just as crucial as a physical sustenance. No wonder then that Italian superstition brims with warnings against disre- specting the essence of bread, such as the restriction against turning bread upside-down or, even worse, discarding bread. Italians in olden days believed that these actions insulted the Earth's bountiful harvest and affronted one of the most vital cores of their diet. Unfortunate- ly, we have lost this spiritual connection with our food and the Earth which provides it as society industrialized. For this reason, I think it is important to honor seasonal festivities like Lammas, which connect us to our ancestors and teach us that the food which springs from the Earth is a sacred gift. Celebrate Laminas this Au- gust by honoring the grain that forms the building blocks of our lives. Whether you bake a focac- cia or quick bread from scratch, or simply remain conscious of the Earth's abundance as you bite into a sandwich roll or cut into a loaf of bread, think about the nourishment that goes into both your body and soul. By reveling in the joys of seasonal food and respecting the signs of the changing seasons around us, we can truly appreciate the glorious rhythms of the natural harvest. Lammas tells us not to mourn over the end of summer, but rather recognize the neces- sity and the wonder of the cycle of the year. Without autumn, there would be no harvest to sustain us through the dark winter nights. Let the sight of wheat waving in the golden sun and hay bales standing proudly in fruit-laden fields remind us of the way our ancestors lived so close to the Earth, and let us vow to keep that sacred con- nection even within the busiest moments of our lives. 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. Pebbles J. Bethel is No Mr. Drysdale As a newspaper reporter/writer, I meet lots of people in lots of differ- ent places. I recently met Pebbles Bethel at an East Boston Chamber of Commerce event in East Boston at the Hilton Garden Inn. Several business- es were represented at the meeting from communities nearby. Ms. Bethel was there with others representing the East Boston Savings Bank and is currently the assistant vice president and branch manager of the Revere branch located on Squire Road. After finding out more about this young lady, I interviewed her for this commentary. I assumed she was a North Shore resident based on her work location, but found out she actually lives in Dorchester where she grew up. She told me she was actually born in New York, but she's not a Yankees fan, thank God[ She grew up in a single parent home and her mother is a Cape Verdean immigrant. She graduated from St. Peter's School in Dorchester, and then from the John D. O'Bryant High School in Roxbury Crossing. In 2009, Pebbles took a job as a part-time teller at the Mt. Washington Bank in Codman Square on Talbot Avenue in Dorchester. She then began her mercurial rise at Mt. Washington and the East Boston Savings Bank at the same time that the two banks were merging. She moved up in the ranks quickly as she showed her skills to higher-ups. She ended up at corporate headquarters in Peabody developing more skills. Pretty soon up she was accepted into the bank's Mentor Program for Leadership and Management as an employee with great potential. That program catered to developing skills that would catapult her into the next level of her career. It certainly did just that. Next stop for Bethel was the Medford bank branch, and once again she rose to the top of the heap. Today she is assistant vice president and a branch manager in Revere on Squire Road where we chatted during her lunch break. She is all busi- ness, all the time. She loves what she has done and wonders what is ahead. She awaits future challenges in the banking industry. Oh, did I tell you, she's only 26 years old? I was amazed at her youth, and her experience thus far. Today, as the Revere branch manager, she has also been active in the community her bank serves. She was recently appointed to the board of directors of Women Encouraging Empowerment in Revere. She was flattered to be appointed to the board and mentioned it was the first board she has ever been on. Apparently, everyone must see what I saw during my interview. She takes her job seriously; she's always trying to learn more, and is currently a part-time student at Roxbury Community College majoring in business management. I have little hesitation in say- ing, I see an MBA in her future. Who knows where Pebbles Bethel can go in the future. She is focused and determined to make a difference in her life and for others around her. She is a role model to many young women searching for their future. She is someone who is showing that the sky can be the limit in your endless search for knowledge. Public Insurance Adjuster 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 Happy Anniversary Italian Speda/t/es Expert Catering SAUGUS Store and Corporate C~ce 190 Main Street, Saugus, HA 781-231-9599 Fax781-231 9699 BOSTON I WEST END 75 Blossom Court, Boston, HA 617-227-6141 Fax 617-227-6201 SOUTH BOSTON I Park Lane, Boston (Seaport District), HA 857-366-4640 Fax 857-366-4648 America in History Landing of Columbus Designs created & implemented by Constantino Brumidi (1805-1880) The Michelangelo of the United States Capitol October Italian Heritage Month Committee Nicola DeSantis, Consul General of, Italy, Honorary Chairman Cav. James DiStefano, President Dr. Frank Mazzaglia, Chairman of the Board Salvatore Bramante, Vice President Fiscal Affairs Richard Vita, Esq., Vice President Madsa DiPietro, Recording Secretary Dr. Stephen F. Maio, Director of Education, Past President Car. Kevin Caira, Immediate Past President Comm. Lino Rullo, President Emeritus, Co-Founder Honorable Joseph V. Ferrino, Ret., Chairman Emeritus, Co-Founder Hon. Peter W. Agnes Jr., Chairman Emeritus, Co-Founder www.ItalianHeritageMonth.cem (617) 499-7955