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September 19, 2014

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Page 4 POST-GAZETTE, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 L'Anno BeUo: A Year in Italian Folklore Of Harvests and Equinoxes by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz We may live in an indus- trialized society, where farms appear as some quaint and nostalgic remnant of the past, but whenever fall rolls around, harvest symbols become abundant. Cloth scarecrows dressed in rags and straw and sporting a wide grin, decorate windows and doorways in homes. Coffee and bakery shops offer their seasonal flavors of pumpkin and apple. Towns everywhere advertise har- vest fairs and events -- I remember volunteering at one as a college student, on a brisk cloudy fall day. A woman tending to her plot of the land near the fair venue offered me some lettuce and carrots, a gesture of such generosity and communal sharing. Later, I met my family at the fair and enjoyed a plate of steaming sweet potato fries and perused through the stalls selling homemade crafts. Yes, the theme of harvest exerts a powerful influence over us all during the autumn, most likely because we still grasp on to the primordial needs of food, nourishment and community support. This up- coming week, the autumn equinox will remind us of the significance of the har- vest and the need to find balance in our lives as fall continues on its rhythm. The autumn equinox falls on September 23rd this year, midway between the sum- mer and winter solstices. Though many may lament the astronomical end of sum- mer, the autumn equinox has always felt like a time for new beginnings. I return to work and school, and the air suddenly fills with renewed purpose and struc- ture. The laziness of sum- mer dissipates as the days propel towards the warmth and the bustle of the holi- day season in the coming winter. Not surprisingly, several cultures celebrate a new year around the time of the autumn equinox, includ- ing the Jewish religion, which commemorates Rosh Hashanah on the evening of September 24~ this Septem- ber. The equinox also func- tions as an interplay of light and darkness. The equinox will feature equal hours of day and night -- a strong reminder that just like nature, we too should be wel- coming a sense of balance in our lives, finding the right medium between obliga- tions and our own personal desires. However, after the equinox the hours of dark- ness outnumber those of light. This darkness can be a blessing, beckoning us to our cozy homes to enjoy time with family or baking up a warm meal. The longer nights can give us free reign to explore our creative ten- dencies, allowing us to en- gage in hobbies and projects we had put off for a long time. The autumn equinox, there- fore, brims with possibility and anticipation, exciting us for the communal holidays to come. Harvest forms another powerful theme around the equinox, as this is usually the time when the last crops are gathered. These are the crops that will nourish throughout the autumn and winter, serving as the cen- terpieces in feasts and be- ing preserved and canned to last the months. In many societies, festivities known as Harvest Home occur around the equinox. These festivals honor the end of the harvest, a celebration of the hard work undertaken in the months before and a revelry in the abundance of the Earth's bounty. Tables laden with autumn staples --apples, carrots, pumpkin, nuts, ginger -- form a per- fect backdrop to the merry- making and dancing that lasts long into the night. In Italy, these kinds of feasts are known as sagre. A sagra is a local fair that honors a specific food, crop or ingre- dient. Northern Italian towns may hold sagre di mele, or feasts of apples. In South- ern Italy, sagre di uve, or grape feasts, dot the land- scape. During the sagre, townspeople display dishes made from these nourishing staples. In larger sagre, ven- dors may sell crafts or toys, and music and dancing en- liven the town plazas. Inter- estingly enough, the root word for sagra derives from the Latin sacrum, which also gives us the English word sacred. The Italians under- stand that the fruit of the Earth is indeed sacred, something with which to rally the community and to carefully appreciate as the winter approaches. This autumn equinox, take some time to honor this complex and special holiday. Find ways to balance your life -- if you believe that you are overworking yourself, commit an evening com- pletely devoted to doing something you love or spend- ing time with a loved one. Celebrate the darkness by snuggling with a cup of spiced cider on a dusky evening. Finally, pay tribute to the harvest by baking up a deli- cious treat with seasonal ingredients like apples, pears or spices. While you are enjoying the equinox, remember that though dark- ness is overtaking the air now, the sun will return triumphant on the winter solstice. So goes the cycle of the Earth, a wheel of equi- noxes and solstices that yield their own unique plea- sures as the year goes on. 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. Wynn Wins (Continued from Page 1) Revere would have been se- by losing the casino site. lected. He was also very con- Rumors are now afloat that cerned about workers, hun- Suffolk Downs could be a dreds of them, possibly los- good site as a soccer sta- ing their Suffolk Downs jobs dium for the New England All the glory that was Rome ..... Pompei Po) - PE1 ZSO HAKIOX/(R STREET Bistro * Beer * Wine Revolution which now plays its home games out in Foxboro, miles from the growing soccer fan base in and around Revere. Might Bob Kraft take a look at Suffolk Downs for his soccer team? Personally, it might work out well for Revere, East Bos- ton, Chelsea, etc. However, I would hope any stadium complex would be con- structed for multi-use year round. Right now this is all just a rumor. We will have to wait for the dust to fall from the gaming com- mission's recent decision. Get Big Results For more information, call 617-227-8929. by Sal Giarratani Time to Get Beyond Partisan Rancor A11 we hear lately is that partisan rancor has created gridlock in Washington. The left wing drive-by media would have us believe that this blockage of needed action up on Capitol Hill is the sole fault of the right- wing Republicans. In the recent upset up on the North Shore, U.S. Rep. John Tierney was calling Tuesday's primary winner Seth Moulton a tool of the conservative right. Two years ago, the Tierney campaign called Republican opponent Richard Tiesi "Tea Party Tiesi." He almost lost to Tiesi two years ago and this year went down to defeat. Voters in the 6th Congres- sional District now are free to choose Moulton or Tiesi bringing fresh air to North Shore politics. Last week's presidential address to the nation showed that from now on Iraq is no longer Bush's fault. President Obama now owns Iraq, Syria and ISIS. However, I am sure moonbat liberals will con- tinue to deflect all negativity to Bush. President Obama will not seek Congressional approval for his new ISIS strategy saying he can do it alone. He can't keep using the 2002 authorization legisla- tion forever. Funny, Obama is planning to go before the U.N. Security Council for support. Listen- ing to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi just buckle down to Obama seems so pa- thetic. She should be de- manding Congress be a part of our aims in both Iraq and Syria. If Bush were still the president, she would too. As far as Speaker John Boehner goes, he's just as useless as Pelosi. And don't get me started on Senate Majority Leader "Dirty" Harry Reid. Congress is the second branch of government, so start acting like it for a change. Otherwise, Con- gress is full of it. I am a moderate conser- vative. I am not ruled by blind ideology. I try to think for my- self and make up my own mind using my values to come to conclusions. The threat of ISIS is real and not just over there, but right here too. As I listened to Obama state that the Islamic State was neither "Islamic" nor a "State," I thought I was watching a Saturday Night Live spoof. Then on September 11th, Secretary of State John F. Kerry actually had the audac- ity to say America is not at war with ISIL." How long must the American people put up with this stupid stuff?. Having been born in post World War II and growing up with the Cold War, the threat to world peace is far greater today than it ever was under the fear of the old Soviet Union. World Terrorism and Radi- cal Islamists are a challenge to be faced by the entire world. It is in the interest of the entire civilized world to face up to this threat which is far from existential. I believe we have returned to pre-9/11 readiness and we can never do that. We must always remember what hap- pened that day and how the world changed and how our thinking needed to change along with it. This past September 11th was the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and the second anni- versary of Benghazi. We are at war and John Kerry is wrong in what he stated last week. The enemy is Radical Islam and not some silly sound bite from the president that the Islamic State is neither Islamic nor a State. On both grounds, Obama and Kerry are like those who are blinded by what they do not wish to see. It is time for all Americans, Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative to become one again like we were that morning 13 years ago. Meaningless rancor must stop. We have a com- mon enemy and we must deal with it here and now. / Boston Harborside Home Joseph A. Langone 580 Commercial St. Boston, MA 02109 617-536-4110 Augustave M. Sabia, Jr. Trevor Slauenwhite Frederick J. Wobrock Dino C. Manca Courtney A. Fitzgibbons A Service Family Affiliate of AFFS/Service Corporation International 206 Winter St., Fall River, MA 02720 Telephone 508-676-2454