So, I got a call from my mother this morning, telling me about what my cousins are doing and how everyone is preparing for the holidays. In Italy, when someone passes on they usually don't celebrate any holidays for at least a year. So, this year my aunts and cousins will be in mourning and not celebrate. Its tough for them because they really do stick to this respectful tradition, so even the kids kind of miss out on the holidays, but it teaches them respect and honor of those who passed. I am sure someone will give gifts anyway, so the kids have some fun.
On a lighter note, so I think my mother will also be visiting with the rest of her brothers and sisters, she's one of seven. Of which, my mother lives in America, her other brothers moved to Venice and one in Rome. So, we got most of Italy covered and America. In Italy, Christmas starts about a week early with religious days, which urges the Italians to go to church and prepare for your families. I think the important thing to mention that in Italy, Christmas is not consumed with the retail hoopla. Its somewhat, but never like here in the states. Most families gather for dinner, church and if anyone gets a gift its for the children. The concentration is on Christmas and religion.
So, I had to sit and listen to her go on about what fabulous meals she's enjoying and how she's going from family to family. When you're there, its just an incredible feeling of familiarity. I mean, for example, this is a true story. Over the summer I was walking down a street near where my mother grew up, and some old lady, says to me in Italian, "are you Franca's daughter?" But the translation in Italian, sounds better. I said, "yes," this woman was so amazed because she thought I looked like my mother and recognized me. Well, turns out this lady, used to go to sewing school with mother when they were teenagers. I mean really, its just so fascinating and of course I ended up in her house having espresso and biscotti.
I'll share one more example with you because I think this one was really great. We were at the marina getting gelato of course, when this guy walks up to my father and says, "do you know who I am?" Of course, my father doesn't remember, but says, "no, who are you?" Turns out this guy goes onto to explain, that when he was a small child, he went with his family to see my father leave the port of Villa San Giovanni when he first embarked on the first leg of his transatlantic voyage to America. This guy goes onto to tell my father, how that experience of seeing my father leave on a ship for America, left such an impression on him. I was amazed, I felt like my father was a rock star. So, when in Calabria, you never know who you're going to meet and what its all going to mean to you. Greetings from Calabria are always welcome.Tweet