With the holidays quickly approaching I thought an interesting topic would be Thanksgiving in Italy. But seeing as that’s a mostly American holiday I decided Christmas would be best. Christmas is celebrated in Italy from December 24 to January 6, the feast of the Epiphany. In Italy Babbo Natale or Father Christmas comes much like Santa does here in the US however the main day of gift giving is on the Epiphany, though gift giving is slowly becoming more popular on Christmas Day. Popular traditions such as Christmas Trees, decorations and Lights are also rising in popularity, usually begging to appear around December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception. For my family the Holiday season also ends on the 6th of January. This is a tradition my Grandmother used to have and so therefore my mother has also adopted. However we start decorating much earlier than the 8th. Usually the lights go on very early due to family visits and just overall convenience and the house is decorated the weekend after we celebrate Thanksgiving.
My father was a accomplished baseball player. Winning many titles as a young man. He played catcher. One day as he was playing in a big game against the cross town rivals and moved to make a play home plate. Instead of conceding that he was out the opposing player ran my father over. Now it is important to mention that this was before catchers wore full masks and instead wore only protective glasses. as the player slammed into my father the glasses broke and cut my father from the corner of his eye three inches towards his ear. He Finished the game at first base.
After the game he was taken to the hospital to be stitched. The doctor was an Italian man who only said hellp to my father in english. The rest of the one sided conversation was done by the doctor. who spoke in Italian, words and phrases that I am willing to bet we will not learn in the classroom. Knowing the man was angry after the stitches were put into his head my father thanked the doctor and quietly left the room.
Fast forward a few years ahead. My father walks into a living room for a “meet the parents” dinner with the women he had been seeing for some time. sitting at the head of the table was that Italian man who had stitched my fathers injury many years before
The Italian man was Dr. Frank Pessolano. My Grandfather.
I guess you could say they lived happily ever after
Being in a Italian family, I have a strong family connection. As I had said before in my blog, my mother is one of six children. And I myself am one of 15 grandchildren.
But I am also lucky enough to have a different part of my family. Through the foreign exchange program, which my aunt Karen is very involved with I have many “cousins” from all over the world. Many of them are from various parts of Italy and through getting to know them I have experienced and learned many things about the Italian culture and world from people who live there. These are lessons you wont find in a textbook or from an article online. A great thing about the social media age we live in is I get to keep up with them long after they go back home. We skype and facebook and I get to see Italy through an Italians eyes.
For my first blog entry I thought I would expand on why I took this class. I have an interest in Italian due to my family ties there.
When my mother was young my grandfather, a pharmacist, decided he wanted to become a doctor. However because he was older no schools here would accept him. So he applied to the University of Bologna, located in Northern Italy. He was accepted and the whole family made the trip to Italy where they stayed for 6 years. Bologna is where my mother’s side of the family is originally from so it was a bit of a homecoming for my grandparents. After their time was up they all came back to the US with the exception of my uncle who stayed and finished his doctorate also at the University in Bologna. My uncle can still speak Italian fluently. So well in fact that people often ask him what part of the country he is from because they do not understand his accent. I want to learn Italian because one day I want to travel to Italy and meet the family who is still there. It could be great to let them get to know me in their own language. I am hoping that what I learn here will help me to do just that one day.