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Y Page4 POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 L 'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore Things That Go Bump in the Night Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz Next Friday, a moderately unique calendar event will occur, one that still manages to send frightful shivers down people's spines. Yes, I am talking about Friday the 13~, that day of supposed bad luck, mystery and magic. Like most aspects of folklore, the origins of Friday the 13th's reputation remain shrouded in controversy. In British and American super- stition, Friday was always considered a day of ill luck; a whole range of activities, from cutting hair to embark- ing on journeys, were con- sidered taboo for Fridays. Similarly, the number thir- teen also became attached to the concept of bad fortune due to the fact that it "broke" the natural cycle repre- sented by the number twelve -- twelve months of the year, twelve hours on the clock, twelve signs of the zodiac, etc. Many scholars believe that the status of Friday the 13th as a day of unluckiness came about in more modern times, influenced by previ- ous superstitions =pertaining to Fridays and the number thirteen. Nevertheless, Fri- day the 13t" holds some spe- cial significance in my life -- both my best friend and my father-in-law were born on Friday the 13th's! SO in honor of this day, and be- cause Halloween is quickly approaching next month, what follows is a special ver- sion of L'Anno Belto dedi= cated to the spookier~ side of, Italian folklore. Italy's strong connection to occult begins in Ancient Roman culture. Here lies the origin of one of the most en- during Italian superstitions: the prejudice against the number seventeen, rather than thirteen. The Roman numeral for seventeen was VIXI, the same as the word for "he lived" frequently found carved on tombstones, thus linking the number with death. However, the Roman love for all things creepy did not end with the number seventeen. Romans lived in fear of the lemures, or fright- ful ghosts that haunted houses or roads because, as is common even in modern ghost stories, they could find no rest. The Romans so feared these spirits that they even held a festival in May, Lemuria, to appease them {incidentally, this could be why olden superstitions considered May an unlucky month in which to marry). In addition, Ancient Rome also became famous for its omens. Special priests called augurs observed the flight of birds in order to divine future events or outcomes. Haruspices had a much yuckier job: predicting the future based on the entrails of sacrificed animals. While :modern Italians are far less superstitious than their ancestors, many relics of Ancient Roman mystery, such as the evil eye and red- horn amulets for luck, still abound. Contemporary Italy also contains no shortage of spooky folktales and legend- ary monsters. The werewolf, for example, is known as the licantropoin Italy. Tales of :the licant(opoin~ ~ta:ly. hear- ken~ back to times Wheri the wolf stood as the most feared predator of European forests, and nights of the full moon proved most dangerous for werewolf encounters. These stories always remind me of my father's anecdotes about hearing eerie wolf cries in his secluded mountain village. Similarly, the witch, or strega, plays a large role in Italian folklore, and their names and ability vary from region to region. The principal gift-giver of the Italian Christmas season, La Befana, is even repre- sented as some kind of fairy- witch. Italian culture also brims with unique and specific mythological crea- tures. The Badaliscis a large furry beast that supposedly inhabits the forests of the Italian Alps in Lombardy, who can only be captured on the Epiphany -- an event that forms part of the region's folksy holiday fes- tivities to this day. Naples boasts the Monaciello("little monk"), a gnome-like fairy that resides in the city's old abbeys, monasteries and underground canals, offering help to passerby and playing benevolent tricks on people. Lake Como even has ,its own version of the Loch Ness Monster, the Lariosauro! All in all, Italy abounds with mystery and legends, a per- fect place for a wonderfully chilling adventure. This Friday the 13th, why not explore the fun side of getting spooked? You can read about local legends or watch a film that makes you jump. I plan on spend- ing this day asking two experts on Italian folklore, my grandmother and my father, about legends and creatures from their home- towns and regions. After all, folktales do more than just give us a thrill. They con- nect us to the fabric of our past and heritage, to the hopes, fears and desires of our ancestors. So go have some spooky fun -- after all, it is part of our col- lective history! 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. Sports Museum Announces Ann " The Sports Museum is proud to announce that this year "The Tradition" will be held on Tuesday, Septem- ber 17 at 5:30 pm on the arena floor at the TD Garden, Boston, Mass The Tradition, which has been held annually in the past since 2002, typically takes place in late June. For 2013, The Sports Museum decided to move the event to September, a time when the TD Garden is buzzing with preseason excitement. The Tradition taking place in early fall will allow fans to kick-off the new season with the signature celebration of Boston sports. At this year's Tradition, The Sports Mu- seum will celebrate the 100t" Anniversary of Francis Ouimet's historic triumph at the US Open in Brookline, MA (the de facto birth of golf in America) by honoring the greatest American golfer of all-time Jack Nicklaus. The legendary "Golden Bear" will receive a Lifetime Achieve- ment Award for all that he has accomplished both on and off the golf course. Oth- ers headlining this year's gala event include Doug Flutie, the native of Natick, Owned and operated by Pamela Donnaruma, Publisher, Post-Gazette Learn to Speak Italian this Fall at the Dante Adult Italian Language School In Cambridge, MA Registrations Are Now Being Accepted Classes will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Evenings from 7 pm to 9:30 pm Starting September 10 ending November 14 Tuition $250 For Detailed Course Information Visit www.dantemass.org MA who dramatically led Bos- ton College to national prominence, he captured the Heisman Trophy, en- joyed a long and successful career in pro football with several teams (including the New England Patriots), and has raised millions for au- tism research along the way. If Flutie authored the most famous play in college foot- ball history ("The Pass" against Miami), then an- other of this year's Tradition honorees, Carlton Fisk, was responsible for hitting one of the most famous home runs in the history of baseball to win Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Fisk will be honored for serving as the bedrock of the 1970s Boston Red Sox and putting together a storied career that even- tually landed him in Cooperstown. Other honorees at the 12t" annual Tradition will in- clude the Boston Celtics Ownership Group (Wyc (Continued on Page 14) by Sal Giarratani &J fT( UPS Drops Spouses Thanks to ObamaCare I didn't see this news story in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald only ran it as a news short item in the business section, but ObamaCare has now made a deep effect on a number of non-union management folks in the United States working for United Parcel Service, Inc. I first heard about the UPS move from two friends of mine Dennis and Tommy caught off guard who told me each of their spouses who could according to UPS get health care else- where are getting dumped by UPS. Remember when President Obama was sell- ing his signature Affordable Health Care Act, he assured folks that if they liked their present health insurance plan, they could keep it under his health care re- form. Well, another one bites the dust here. UPS estimates that some 15,000 of the 30,000 spouses currently covered by a spouse working for UPS will be dropped from their insurance and cited Obamacare for this change in company health plans. A memo was sent to those employees being affected by this change and stated that UPS didn't mind giving employees health insurance plan but that working spouses should be getting their health insurance from their own employers. Let us get this straight. A UPS employee .affected by this new UPS policy will still be covered as will children but the other spouse will need to pay for his or her own health care insurance plan? Two health insurance plans for one family. Two bills to pay. And in many cases, different doctors with the change. This is an outrage as thou- sands of UPS workers have found out what was actually in that ObamaCare package that former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others never read before passing it. Apparently, the 85 to 90 percent of the American people that Obama said wouldn't have to worry about the health reform may now presume to worry. One reason for the change are the added costs imposed through the government mandate that plans cover children up to age 26, it also bans lifetime spend- ing limits and the 465 in ObamaCare fees that will be imposed on every enrollee starting next year. The Investors Business Daily recently opined that rising costs played a major role. as the UPS memo stated, "... the costs associ- ated with the Affordable Care Act have made it increas- ingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost." Things will only get worse. This is just the beginning. Most large companies had rarely dropped spousal cover- age but now more are. Many others that aren't will be surely making such cover- age so costly hoping that spouses Will dropit/on their own. ; Meanwhile, employment in this country for the most part is becoming part-time now. work week hours are dropping as the unemployed have given up looking for full-time work and taking part-time jobs to pay bills. Don't believe? Just ask the UPS driver the next time he drops off a package for you. Or better still ask Tommy or Dennis or any of the other workers who now know that Obama's promise about how you would be unaffected by his reform was just a bunch of nonsense. Someone al- ways has to pay the piper and it is always those that can least afford the reality of broken promises. N END~ 5 pRI*INCE STREET'o NTo!NDGBos~ Quality Printing for all your Commercial and Personal Needs Statione * Business Cards . MenUs * Flyers :[ Program BOoks * Wedding and Par vitations Announcements * Business Forms and cuments --- COMPETITIVE PRICES --