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September 11, 2015

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,2 ?, } Page4 - b . t t. } | POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 11,2015 L'Anno BeUo: A Year in Italian Folklore La Vendemmia: A Harvest of Traditions by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz September in Italy is a glorious time of the year. The sun still bakes the landscape into glorious hues of amber and ochre. Local festivals called sagre celebrate the ongoing har- vest, with town squares be- coming veritable banquets of local specialties ranging from apples to truffles to figs. Of course, the country begins gearing up for the autumn as well, as the dusky nights become cooler and people adjust to rigorous rhythms of the new season. However, one September event particu- larly captures the whole essence of Italy in the fall. It is called /a vendemmia, or the grape harvest, and it sweeps the country through the autumnal months. La vendemmia is a sacred heart in Italy, where the grape comprises a prized crop and its final product, wine, forms the crux of national charac- ter. Throughout this har- vest, Italian towns buzz with the energy of people collect- ing their grapes in giant wicker baskets or on the back of tractors, ready to be eaten as a fresh seasonal treat or distilled into the country's famous wines. Communal pleasures blend with hard work in order to create a beautiful dance of quaint customs, careful food preparation, and long-term planning for the cold months ahead. Observing Italian vendemmia customs reveals much about the power of har- vest as a way of respecting the Earth and the lure of tra- ditions, even in modem Italy. Indeed. the sight of vine- yards perched on rolling hills, with dappled sunlight shining through the gem- like green leaves and violet grapes, has become an In- delible symbol of Italy, often being the first image that enters people's minds when they think of the Italian countryside: italian immi- grants to theUnited States brought over their love for the all-important grape grapes at home, the gnarled vines and wild leaves creep= ing over backyard trellises like a labyrinth. Back in Italy, the same vineyards that adorn postcards and posters are humming with activity for the September vendemmia. Skilled farmers know the precise tempera- ture and weather that make for the best picking condi- tions and will produce the optimal grapes and wine. Nowadays, many people adapt technological methods to la vendemmia, using the latest gadgets to test the acidity of the grapes. How- ever, tradition still reigns supreme in many parts of Italy, where the whole vil- lage assembles to pick grapes, from the grandmoth- ers in kerchiefs to the hip young people on break from college. One can sense the Bacchanalian revels of old in these communal gatherings. La vendemmia is so vital in Italy precisely because much of these harvested grapes will be used in one of Italy's most iconic products, wine. Wine, or v/no, holds a significant spot in Italian culture and society, finding a place on every dinner table and forming the basic tenet of Italian hospitality. Wine is also imbued With a religious connotation, out to greet the arrival of a guest. Actually, wine is such a touchstone of Ital- ian society that numerous superstitions protect its reputation and warn of dire consequences to anyone who mistreats wine. A su- perstition that hearkens back to Roman times states that a person who spills wine must dab a little behind each ear to ward off any bad luck that comes from the waste of the pre- cious drink. However, Ital- ians do consider it good luck to spill wine on new it \ by Sal Giarratani Is The Donald a Demagogue? "It is always good I 10ve the above quote, because the mainstream media never saw his impact on the 2016 election, or all those Washington Insiders, both Democrat and Republi- can. To date, criticism by Democrats is pretty timid compared to the political jihad on Donald Trump from clothes or a tablecloth. Per- haps this is a way for the wine to transfer its inher- ent positivity to the new garments. Miscellaneous wine superstitions further include never toasting with water, but rather always with wine; avoiding serving wine "backhanded," or with the back of the hand facing guests; and women refrain- ing from drinking the last drops of wine in a bottle at the risk of remaining un- married (this superstition, of course, is from olden days when society dictated that women must get married). I do not drink wine myself, the Republican establish- ment. The GOP, with some great assisting by the liberal media government complex, is trying to make Trump the outsider look and sound more like Benito Mussolini. At the moment, Trump has caught the attention of a large swath of Americans -- not just Republicans, not just conservatives, not just those in the Tea Party -- but mil- lions of Americans who are plain fed up with politics as usual which hasn't helped them lately. Too many of our chronic political-class seem in it more for themselves than America, and the frus- tration and anger is fueling but I appreciate the wisdom and customs of my ancestors behind its making. I believe that one of the most important lessons to be gleamed from la vendemmia is patience. Farmers must wait a long time for the grapes to be just right for picking; gathering the crop any sooner or later impacts that taste of the fruit and the eventual wine. Later, winemakers similarly ready themselves for the grapes to be distilled and the must to turn to wine. The traditional day in Italy for tasting new wine is actually St. Martin's Day, or la Festa di San Martino, which falls on No- vember I Ith -- two months serving Trump. Other GOP candidates like Jeb Bush had thought by now that Trump would crash and burn, but it is Jeb himself who is much closer to doing just that. They can call Trump all sorts of names, but he just keeps pushing along and giving his opponents the whatnot when they mess with him. The folks out in America love it all. Read all the trashing from syndicated conservative col- umnists. Everyday they at- tack Trump on something he either said or did. , all see him as not because he called image of class: One after the bulk of the grape ally said harvest has taken place. Af= it as it is. They terwards, though, the wine an becomes a crucial part of to be underestimated." -- Donald Trump mean America will descend into Hell or worse. I keep watching Trump and looking at the reaction from his many bashers out there. He scares the establishment because he follows his own rules. Trump, I believe, is real. His ideology I can't fig- ure out. Much of what he says resonates with conserva- tives, but much of it also resonates with moderates and independents. Less ideo- logue and more populist. Angry, but not that angry. Pompous, but not that arro- gant. Funny, but still pretty serious. I am still not ready to endorse him and I wonder how long this Trump train will run, but attacking him for not being a real Republi- can won't work because most of his supporters aren't real Republicans either. Trump's strength is in his plain talking. As one voter interviewed told a reporter, "These politicians all say the same garbage all the time. Blah, blah, blah. Nothing changes. Trump talks like I want to hear somebody talk." Another voter added, "I am really an independent, but he's saying some stuff we talk about at the dinner table, at socials and on the job. Stuff he says makes sense to me." The paragraph above just about says it all. He has reso- nated with many Americans, some of whom never voted before. His Republican foes don't get it and the talking heads in the mainstream media are so open to bias so-they don't want to get it. Maybe Trump goes all the and maybe not, for sure he has made '16 a very impor- tant eleetionXor all. After all, ence, as what Candidate when hear- a the italian holiday season dent is a game that Nabisco ls moving holidays and folklore at adicenso89@amafl, com. i i ii i, i, Free Parking Adjacentto Building i, . lima I H m COMPETITIVE PRICES -- your Personal Needs SO hopes, dreams and cl l- lenges and work to make them come into fruition this autumn and all year- long. Ally Dt Censo Symynkywtcz is a Graduate Stu*dent in History at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian well-earned as the finest MA02113 Italian wine, whlch once ": started from the lowliest, | barest vine. Just as Ital s gather grapes this Sep i Printing her, let us gather our improvement, but we should realize that they will take patience, dedication, and hard work in order to mani- fest. Once they do, however:, they wilt be as beautiful :and ., RICHARD SETTIPANE Public Insurance Adjuster Experience makes the difference! 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Boston 617.523.3456 hal that Since 969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS to be stocked with bottles of can set many goals for pro= wlne, glowing an eerie fesslonal and " personal ::: shade of white and purple in the dim light, aged to perfec- tion and ready to be brought translucent and sweet pale green grapes, or velvety purple fruit, frequently ,sat on our kitchen table. Several relatives of mine grow Grapes were my father's fa- vorite fruit, :and a bowl of I he basements in some of my family member's homes work, we can all learn les- sons =from /a vendemmia. We: electing sublime! i, when they: crossed :the prominent placein the Eu- and beyond. As :we enter the ocean, It a staple Of ehar!stic ritual of bread and fall, with itsnew rhythms The to Mexico would say, Italian-American culture, wine. It is not unusual for and its return to school and week in the Wa// never eating Oreos