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F age 4 "PO'ST:GA 'I-I'E, DECE'MBER2 201"2 L 'Anno Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore The Magic and Mystery of New Year by Ally Di Censo Lots of people think that Christmas is over on the morning of the 26a, once the crumpled balls of wrapping paper are swept into a big trash bag and radio stations stop playing "Sleigh Ride" and "Jingle Bell Rock" on re- peat. However, tradition dic- tates that there are actually twelve days of Christmas -- hence that song about par- tridges in a pear tree -- and that the holiday season ac- tually stretches until the 6th of January, which is the Epiphany. This longer period of festivities makes perfect sense to me, as I have al- ways believed that the days between Christmas and Epiphany brimmed with a tells me that when she 'was attending boarding school in Naples in the 1940s, she had to exercise great caution if she walked through the streets on New Year's Eve -- people would throw old or unused items out the win- dows, all for the sake of mak- ing a fresh start in the New Year! In addition, folk cus- toms around the world warn that evil spirits wander the Earth on the days poised be- tween one year and another, and so people must make as much noise as possible once the New Year begins in or- der to scare these malevo- lent beings away. Not sur- prisingly, many cultures pre- scribe good luck meals to eat special mystique, a sense of on New Year's Eve. In Italy, distinctiveness from regular calendar days. Since I work in a public school, I usually have these days off, and I spend them with strange and quirky rituals involving eat- ing leftover Christmas food, shopping in blessedly empty stores and visiting with family members who come from overseas to spend the where New Year's Eve is known as La Notte di San Silvestro (literally, the Night of Saint Sylvester, as he is the saint of the day on De- cember 31st), the main good luck meal consists of lentils and cotecchino sausage. Len- tils are said to resemble coins, and thus bring pros- perity in the year to come. holidays with us. Italian folk- Elsewhere, ring cakes are lore even assigns each of fortunate because they sym- the twelve days a special bolize the cycle of the year. meaning -- December 26th, No matter what I do on and Italian: "Happy New Year! .... Feliz Afio Nuevo!" "Buon Anno!" The next day, New Year's Day, feels like a blank slate to me, a day separate from all others that sets the tone for the next year. Known as Capodanno in Italy, which translates to "head (or start) of the year," lore dictates that all actions done during this day will be repeated throughout the year. As such, I like to spend this day in a relaxing and entertaining manner, sur- rounded by family and friends and, of course, great food. I believe that all of these folk traditions and beliefs speak to the universal fears and hopes that all people ex- perience when they are about to start something new. Beginnings can be very scary and sometimes we just want to cling to what is old and familiar. However, beginnings also give us a chance to improve ourselves and to concentrate on our own wishes and desires. That's why New Year's reso- lutions can be so great. Rather than making a rigid, easy-to-break resolution, it is better to focus on overall "% by Sal Giarratani Thinking About that Horrible Shooting in Connecticut As someone who has worked in the mental health field for over 40 years and as someone who also has been a substitute teacher in pub- lic schools for a number of years, I can only pretend to know what it must have been like during the recent rampage inside that Con- necticut elementary school after a monstrous attacker entered the hallways of that building sho~!ng to kil!~ We may never know the motive behind it all and like those that survived inside that none of us will ever feel the same again. The killing of innocents during this sea- son of peace makes it all the more worse. It is hard to comprehend how all these horrible and senseless mass killings keep happening. Just when you think you have seen the worst, something far worse comes along. When that theater shooting took place in Aurora, Colorado, I could think it is a real force in our human lives. You know the old saying "The devil made me do it" might be right to the point. I have known people who lack any good- ness. They are called socio- paths. Everything revolves around them. Good is what they can get away with. Bad is only getting caught. For them there is no such thing as good or evil but on!y,#wil. I ke~p, waitin~jor t5% l xt sick sociopathic~ individual to come along and grab a military-like assault weapon to satisfy some inner violent need. How do we stop this ongoing slaughter? Many lib- erals think it is through gun bans but someone sick enough to do what happened at Aurora or Newtown will find a way to kill again even if all guns are banned. Evil is very resourceful and will find its way. Personally, I believe we have a crisis in accessible mental health care. The mentally ill too INCOME TAX PREPARATION not understand how some- often roam our streets un- for example, is St. Stephen's New Year's Eve, I can feel goals like "become a better one could enter during a treated waiting for their Day, when many contempo- this magic all around me. person in as many ways pos- movie and start taking out personal day of doom to hit. rary Italians go skiing or call- The day seems heavy with sible" or "spend more time folks simply watching a Privacy rights have now ing on family. For me, how- symbolism, fraught with ex-on the things that I love." movie. I thought that was trumped public safety put- ever, no days better empha- citement, fear, and anticipa- Traditions like good luck going to be the worst thingting all of us at risk. Too size the aura of mystery and tion for the unknown. Thesefood and shouting at mid- ever possible. However, I was often, if folks make it to an anticipation that this time mixed emotions are written night give our joys and anxi- wrong and now inlthe wake emergency room for help, period holds than the all over the faces of every- eties a concrete manifests- of that most recent carnagethere aren't enough psych twinned holidays of New one I see bustling around tion and bring us comfort asdown at that school in beds in the community to Year's Eve and New Year's and making their plans for the year changes. Before I go Newtown I am not so sure help pick up the pieces of Day. the evening, hoping to start cut into my ring cake, there- something worse could stillsomeone's shattered life. New Year's Eve is, quite lit- the New Year as best as they fore, I would like to wish ever happen. These killingsThey get sent back into erally, one of the most magi- possibly can. Even the sl~ everyone a very happy New made no sense. Why take society many times with cal days of the year. It is looks different, filled with a~ Year, filled with peace, joy out innocent little children? voices dooming them from laden with a juxtaposition of beautiful dark blue hue and abundant love. What has happened in our inside. both fear and hope. Perhaps indicative Of the slowly the next year will be worse lengthening days. I always Ally Di Censo is a Graduate society that some very dis-I am all for the banning Student in History at the Uni- turbed people could even of military-like semi-auto- than the previous, people have celebrated New Year's versity of Massachusetts Bos- consider committing such matic and automatic weap- wonder, or perhaps it will be Eve with a cozy and homey ton. She appreciates any corn- slaughter? ons from getting into the much better. As a result, family party, made all the ments and suggestions aboutSt. Thomas Aquinas once hands of the general public age-old traditions bestow su- more special because usu- Italian holidays and folklore called evil the absence of but I am not for outlaw- pernatural properties on this ally my relatives from South night and afford every action America, whom I don't get to at adicenso89@gmail.com, good. There have been oth- ing the private ownership ers who think that evil is of handguns or the gutting someone undertakes during see very often, are in atten- r'$ ..... $'1 more than an affect =but of the Second Amendment. this night with - conse- dance. We prepare a big ~ rather a living entity thatKeep guns out of the wrong quences for the upcoming meal and I make a ring- I I roams the world looking forhands but first deal with the year. Kissing loved ones shaped cake to bring good ~ trouble. I have come to be-mental health stigma that when the clck strikes mid-luck" Everyne wears atI ~ Blnight ensures another year least one new article of lieve that evil is more than lurks in societywhich pre- of being surrounded by clothing to symbolize a fresh I I just the absence of good. Ivents those who need help believe evil actually exists. friends and family, keepingstart to the year, a tradition cabinets and pantries brought over from Italy. I ~3~RB~x I Call it what you may but I (Continued on Page 12) stocked with food will guar- When the clock chimes roa way, evere z 781-286-CASH z ~ ~ roll antee a year free from want. twelveandtheappledropsin l casMnyouraot,.r,aclm$chootMoney! , NORTH END [ Many people scurry to pay New York City's Times www.sellgoldmass.com" their debts by the last day of Square, we all shout and hug L$ llll,lllI{0]~,lllkI[elU'd|], $.j the year to avoid incurringand kiss and offer our felici- more during the next twelve tatins in three different "__ P PdNTIN(J months. My grandmother languages, English, Spanish r 5 PRINCE STREET NORTH END BOSTON, MA 02113 1 Loved Ones Owned and operated by Pamela Donnaruma, Publisher, Post-Gazette Financial Services Professional Tax Consultant Personal & Business Year Round Service M.P. & Co. 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