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,PAGE 4 POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 2, 2016 L'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore Santa Claus is Coming to Town! by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz The Christmas season, that most wonderful time of the year, is fully upon usl I feel its merriment whenever I take a sip of spicy eggnog, its velvety texture warming me inside with the taste of the holidays. On the first day of Advent, my husband and I decorated our home for Christmas, setting up our small tree and placing an evergreen wreath on our door. The twinkling lights of these adornments shine through even the darkest midwinter night, while the .greenery reminds me that the cycle of life rolls on despite the blustery cold of the season. Christmas carols, ubiq- uitous on the radio, compose the soundtrack of my days now, filling them with the sounds of jingle bells. However, the most inescapable symbol of secular Christmas celebrations remains the jolly man from the North Poie himself- Santa Clausl Santa Claus appears every- where nowadays, from thrones in shopping mails to television ads, from cookie faces to house- hold decorations. Sometimes, Santa Claus manifests as the elegant Father Christmas -- a serious-faced man clad in long, intricate robes, holding a staff. More often, however, he is a rotund, merry-faced man with a bushy white beard and a red suit, a bag bursting with gifts slung over his shoulder. Though Santa Claus has become a prominent figure in Christmas commerciaiism, in his purest form he is a comforting symbol of the mirth, goodwill and kind- ness which characterize this season. This complex character even has his own holiday on Decembei" 6th, a day abounding with Christmas history[ The idea of Santa Claus may seem rather strange, even bizarre. Here is a man who lives in the North Pole, wears red, owns a toyshop run by elves; and hops aboard a sleigh to deliver presents to children on Christmas Eve. Why is this fig- ure so attached to the holiday season? Like most Christmas symbols, Santa Claus derives from both Christian and pagan roots. Some of his characteris- tics hearken back to the Norse god Odin, who led a wild hunt across the midwinter night sky on an eight-legged stallion. Children would leave carrots out overnight for Odin's horse, sLmilar to the tradition of offer- hag cookies and milk to Santa Claus. Elves also form a major part of Scandinavian folklore, where tales abound of magical creatures who were especially active during the Twelve Days of Christmas. Nevertheless, Santa Claus's most immedi- ate ancestor is St. Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century bishop hailing from Asia Minor, now modern-day Turkey. St. Nicho- las became famous for his generosity, eventually serving as the patron saint of children. His association With gift-giving stems from a famous legend in which he secretly made gifts of gold for three sisters too poor to afford a dowry. The very name "Santa Claus" is a corruption of "St. Nicholas," hailing from Dutch settlers who brought the figure of Sinterklaas to America. In other countries, such as England, Santa Claus' name is "Father Christmas." This corre- sponds to his Italian moniker as well, as the jolly man is known as Babbo Natale- literally, "Father Christmas." Though the premiere gift-bringer in Italy remains La Befana, the kindly witch who circles the world on Epiphany Eve, Babbo Natale has an enormous pres- ence there as well, and Italian children write letters to the merry, red-suited man. St. Nicholas, Santa Claus' predecessor, even boasts his own feast day on the 6th of December. My grandmother hails from the southern Italian city of Bari, which holds the refcs of the saint, so la Festa di San Nicola, or St. Nicholas' Day, endures as one of her most cherished holidays. She still speaks fondly of citywide celebrations on this day, replete with parades and processions, most centered around the Basilica di San Nicola. In other areas of Europe, St. Nicholas' Day functions .as a quaint Real Estate Matt6o Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530 and charming precursor to Christmas, a day devoted to the happiness of children. Children in Germany, Hun- gary and the Czech Republic leave their shoes or boots on the windowsills during the eve of St. Nicholas' feast, only to find them filled with candy and trinkets in the morning. Pol- ish children find small bags of candy tucked under their pil- lows, while their counterparts in France bake gingerbread and brioche to mark the holiday. My family honors St. Nicholas' Day with.customs that awaken my inner child. My husband's par- ents bless and distribute candy canes on this day, sharing the joy of this nostalgic treat. I bake an eggnog cake for this feast. Silky and warm, studded with golden raisins and topped with a brown sugar streusel, this cake tastes like the Christmas festivities. As its scent fills the air, I become thankful for the pleasures of home and hearth that form the crux of holidays like St. Nicholas' Day. Though the modern age seems bent on commercializing Santa Claus, we should pay attention to the true signifi- cance of this enigmatic and jovial figure. With a combina- tion of Christian and pagan roots, Santa Claus celebrates the values of compassion and kindness. The feast day of his predecessor St. Nicholas honors children and is imbued with the optimism and generosity that characterizes the Christmas season. While it may seem far too easy to impatiently wait for Christmas' arrivai, St. Nicho- las' Day serves as a welcome reminder that the whole Advent period brims with unique and special holidays that reveal the various facets of Christmas. During the holidays this year, let us make a pact to face life with the same sense of magic and wonder that typifies Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, or Babbo Natale. When we look at Christmas with joyous, childlike eyes, we can finally enjoy the true magnanimous spirit of the holidays, making our souls as bright as Santa Claus' smile! 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. f DIAMONDS FIOLEX ESTATE JEWELRY Bought & Sold Jewelers Exch. Bldg. Jim (617) 263-7766 .M PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH O Blessed Saint Joseph, tenderhearted father, faithful guardian of Jesus, chaste spouse of the Mother of God, I pray you join with me in praising God the Father through His divine Son, who died on the cross and rose again to give us sinners new life. Through the holy Name of Jesus, pray with me, that we may obtain the eternal Father the favor ~ee ask for (state intention). We have been unfaithful to the unfailing love of God the Father;, beg of Jesus mercy for us, His brother and sisters. Amid the splendor of God's loving presence, do not forget the sorrows of those who weep. By your prayers and those of your-most holy spouse, our Blessed Lady, may the love of Jesus answer our call of confident hope. Amen by Sal Giarratani Trump is Not the As someone who ended up voting for Donald Trump on Tuesday, November 8% I felt I had no other choice since he was running against one of the most perceived corrupt presidential candidates of all time. Clinton didn't lose because of FBI Director James Comey, and Trump didn't win because of white supremacists. I disagree with the pessimists out there who think the sky is falling now that we have President-elect Donald Trump going into the White House on January 20% The American voter was left with two flawed candidates, one of the worst choices I've faced in my lifetime. With Clinton, little would change. With Trump the outsider, there was a chance to shake up a tired old system that needed some new energy. Trump is not my ideal candidate. He said incredibly distasteful things about women. He shot from the hip, and opened his mouth too quickly. But in the end, I was faced with a Hobson's choice. I did not believe that Clinton could carry America forward. Democrats in an era of populism worldwide choose the most establishment candidate available, one that by hook and crook seemed to push the real populist Bernie Sanders to the curb. I expected more out of Sanders, and he did not LEGAL NOTICE Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Trial Court Probate and Family Court Middlesex Division 208 Cambridge Street East Cambridge, MA 02141 (017) 708-58OO Docket No. MI10PS758EA Estate of PAUL J. McGUIRE Also Known As PAUL McGUIRE Date of Death June 13, 2016 INFORMAL PROBATE PUBUCATION NOTICE To all persons interested in the above captioned estate, by Petition of Petitioner Kevin W. McGuire of Blackstone, MA, a Will has been admitted to informal probate. Kevin W. McGuire of Blackstone, MA has been informally appointed as the Personal Representative of the estate to serve without surety on the hoed. The estate is being administered under informal procedure by the Personal Represen- talve under the Massachusetts Uniform Pro- bate Code ~ supervision by the Court. Inventory and accounts are not required to be filed with the Court, but interested parties am ended to notice regarding the adminislration from the Personal Representative and can petition the Court in any matter relating to the estate, indu(flng d~cibution of assets and expenses of administration, interested parses are entitled to pe "~don the Court to institute formal proceedings and to obtain orders ter- rninating or restricting the powers of Personal Representatives appointed under informal pro- cedure. A copy of the Petition and Will, if any, can be obtained from the Petitioner. Run date: 12/2/16 End of the World produce. Kissing up to Clinton, I regretted voting for him in the primary. Growing up in Roxbury, I belonged to an Italian-Irish Catholic Democratic family. My dad rarely voted Republican if ever. My political heroes growing up were dames Michael Curley, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, and Bobby Kennedy, all Democrats. However, since 1972 and George McGovern, the Democrats started turning away from their traditionai base and moved leftward. Donald Trump won this year not by attracting white supremacists, but by voicing the concerns of the average blue-collar, middle- class voters abandoned by the Democratic Party decades ago. Like Reagan, Trump reached out to a voting bloc that searched for someone speaking up for them. America will survive. Trump is not the end of the world. Government is our business. We the.people rule, our elected officials work for us. Don't let fear-mongering get to you. We will never elect a perfect president. Our job remains to always communicate with our leaders. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are on our side. Government will always be as good as we want it, or as bad as we allow it. I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving, and remember, no matter how flawed America is, it is better than any alternative out there. LEGAL NOTICE Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Tdal Court Middlesex Probate and Family Court 208 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02141 (61 7) 768-5800 Docket No. MI15D4042DR DIVORCE SUMMONS BY PUBLICATION AND MAILING EDITH RATEAU aka EDITH ALPHONSE VS. JACKSON RATEAU To the Defendant: The Plaintiff has filed a Complaint for Divorce requesting that the Court grant a divorce for Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage lB. The Complaint is on file at the Court. An Automatic Restraining Order has been entered in this matter preventing you from taking any action which would negatively impact the current financial status of either party. SEE Supplemental Probate Court Rule 411. You are hereby summoned and required to serve upon Edith Rateau, Alphonse, Edith, 25 Unonln Way, Cambridp, MA 02140 your answer, if any, on or bafore December 30, 2016. If you fall to do so, the court will proceed to the hearing and adjudication of this action. You are also required to file a copy of your answer, if any, in the office of the Register of this Court. Wdnese, HON. EDWARD F. DONNEU.Y, JR., Rrst Justice of this Court. Date: November 18, 2016 Tara E. DeCristofaro, Register of Probate Run date: 12/2/16 o WWW.BOSTONPOSTGAZETTE.COM