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August 23, 2013

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Y Page4 POST-GAZETTE, AUGUST 23, 2013 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore Each and All for Almanacs/ by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz If you step in to my par- ents' home on any given day, you will most likely hear the television tuned in to the Italian language channel. I no longer bat an eye, for I have been used to this since practically the day I was born. Due to my father's love for the Italian channel, prac- tically every day of my life has consisted of some varia- tion of a silly variety show, hour-long quiz game, soccer match, Italian soap opera, or news program. While I used to find these shows rather goofy when I was little, I now appreciate them for helping me learn the Italian lan- guage and about Italian cul- ture -- I especially love the travel and science programs. However, my favorite show on the Italian channel has not aired for four years, though I watch it regularly online. It is called Almanacco di Domani, or Tomorrow's Al- manac, and like most good things in my life, it was in- troduced to me by my dad. This quaint little fifteen- minutes provided folkloris- tic, astronomical, and fun fact information pertaining to the upcoming day -- birth- days, history, recipes, no- table quotes, you name it[ Even saying the name in my mind conjures images of cozy dark evenings spent curled up on my couch at home, lis- tening to the zany music announce the details of the next day. I just love almanacs be- cause they celebrate sea- sonal time and tradition, which anyone reading this column knows I wholeheart- edly embrace. Italian alma- nacs, whether in the form of the aforementioned tele- vision show or quick write- ups in local newspapers, are especially useful for anyone trying to find out more about the customs, beliefs and values that characterize his or her heritage. In Italian almanacs, you will almost always find the following: I) The Saint of the Day: The calendar of saints is very important to Italian cul- ture. Until not too long ago, this calendar often determined the name of the child born on a particu- lar day. In this month of August, for example, you could have babies named Lorenzo (St. Lawrence's Day, August 10th), Assunta or Maria (Assumption of the Virgin Mary, August 15m), Elena (St. Helen's Day, August 18m), Bartolomeo [St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24th), or, as is the case in many a family, Rocco (St. Roch's Day, Au- gust 16m). The feast days of saints are also interesting for the holiday and seasonal lore associated with them. The Assumption, for ex- ample, acquired many cus- toms related to the start of the grain and first-fruits harvest, which, like the feast day, occurred around mid-August. 2) The Sun and Moon: Like American almanacs, Italian almanacs will also tell the rising and setting times of the sun and the moon. In olden times, farm- ers would have found this information very useful. Superstition parceled out various agricultural tasks to certain phases of the moon, such as planting crops during the period when the moon grows in the sky to ensure a similar result. Of course, nights with a full moon promised magic and mischief of all kinds. I like checking the rise and set of the sun in order to gauge seasonal changes. When the sun no longer sets after eight o'clock, as is happen- ing now, I know autumn is on its way. Similarly, I love watching the sunset time progressively grow longer after the winter solstice with the anticipation of the com- ing spring. 3} Household Hints: Trust me, Italians seem to have more practical uses for everyday household items like rubbing alcohol, baking powder, lemon juice and candle wax than I have ever heard. These little hints are cheap, environmentally sound and just like having a wise grandmother next to you dishing out advice! They definitively represent the more whimsical side of almanacs, true to the Ital- ians' tradition of never tak- ing themselves too seriously. I love almanacs because they remind me that every day is special. Each day arrives laden with its own lore, history and curiosities. Almanacs teach us to always look forward, to keep hope and to always count even the smallest pleasures that a day can bestow. Now that I have been bitten by the almanac bug, I know that I will con- tinue to pore over these olden bundles of wisdom and hu- mor, whether in the form of Almanacco di Domanior or The Farmer's Almanac web- site. So thanks to my dad for introducing me to these cul- tural curios, and happy (al- manac) reading to all! 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. Jimmy "Bono" Geany Performing at San Gennaro's Feast, N.Y.C. Boston's own Jimmy "Bono" Geany will be per- forming, once again, at the 87m Annual San Gennaro's "Feast of All Feasts" in New York City. Popular Boston-based Ital- ian-American singer Jimmy "Bono" Geany is slated to perform Friday through Sun- day, September 13m-15m and 20th-22nd, on the Grand Street Stage in front of the "World Famous Ferarra Pastry Shop and Caf& Jimmy will be singing all your Italian favorites shuch as "O Sole Mio," "Torna Sorrento" and "Mamma," etc. Jimmy is an annual favor- ite performer at the feasts in Boston's "Little Italy" the North End. The Feast of San Gennaro is the largest Italian festival in the United States with over 300 street vendors and CEMETERY CREMATORY 80 arches of festive lights il- luminating the streets of New York's "Little Italy." The Feast runs from September 12~ through September 22"~, 2013. It's a spectacular event not to be missed! I DRIVERS: HOME WEEKLY/BI-WEEKLY1 kayover/Detention/ShortHaul Pay 70% 1 D & H/90% NO Touch. No Canada/Hazmat l or NYCI BC/BS, Dental, Vision,4Olk etc... | Class A CDL w/6 mos. Exp. / 877-705-9261 ,) I DIAMONDS 1 ROLEX ESTATE JEWELRY Bought & Sold Jewelers Exch. Bldg. Jim (617) 263-7766 I- I I I 500 Canterbury Street The Respectful Way Boston, MA 02131 617.524.1036 Serving the Italian Community for Over 100 Years! Revere I 781-286-CASH I I -- EXTRA BACK TO SCHOOL CASH-- .3 by Sal Giarratani Scott Brown is No RINO OMG, I can't believe all these apparent whackos on talk radio who seem to have a death wish for both the Republican Party and conservative agenda. Whether it is Kuhner on WRKO calling Brown "the Model" or all those callers I heard this past Monday afternoon blasting Brown as a RINO, lib- eral, Democrat or a fake. Most of them said they were be- trayed by Brown after they helped him get elected on Janu- ary 19, 2010 and surprising the nation the following morn- ing. They said they helped again last year when the fake Indian beat him. They now say "Never Again" to a Scott Brown candidacy for anything. Many said they would sup- port Charlie Baker if he ran again for governor in '14. Hey, this is their right but I still think Brown is a credible figure in Massachusetts politics. His 2012 loss to U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren happened because it was a presidential election year and with President Obama at the top of the ticket, the Democrats were able to work the field of low information and no information voters and get them to the polls where they voted the Obama-Warren ticket. Scott Brown was recently in Iowa and sounded somewhat presidential talking about the Republican Party not becom- ing prisoner to one wing of the party. He wants the GOP to represent a broad spectrum of Americans frustrated at the way government has failed them in recent years: When he ran in 2010 and ran for re-election last year, I supported Brown's candidacy. He never said he was the Talk Show Tea Parry candidate, he said he was the Republican candi- date trying to bring a new voice to Massachusetts politics in Washington, D.C. In his too short time as our U.S. Sena- tor, he was a voice and vote for many who had had little voice up on Capitol Hill, All this crazy talk on talk radio about supporting real con- servative and real Dem-ocrats belittles the role Brown played down in Washington. His was a reasoned voice. He tried to work across the aisles every day he was there. Compro- mise is not a dirty word. Brown had real principles and not unlike President Ronald Reagan, he did not allow himself to be blinded by ideology. As someone who still calls himself a Reagan Democrat, I would vote for Scott Brown again and again. Whether for governor next year or, dare I say, president in 2016. To the crazy talkers on those radio shows, get over it. Politics and candidates are not now nor ever will be per- fect. 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