Thursday, December 1, 2011

Auguri di buon Natale/Merry Christmas

Charles Poerson

Ancient Echoes

Hear the echoes
of December
found as moments
you remember.
Ancient echoes
held so dear
from a time
of yesteryear.
Hear the voices
love recalls
bouncing down
remembered walls.
Ancient echoes
scenic signs
found within
some Christmastimes.
Certain moments
none compete
that still live
so tasty sweet.
Take those echoes
that you hear
and remember
ones so dear.
Ancient echoes
can bring smiles
to now today.

©By Bill Pearce
May 28, 2011


E' Natale ogni volta che sorridi
a un fratello e gli tendi una mano.

E' Natale ogni volta che rimani
in silenzio per ascoltare l'altro.

E' Natale ogni volta che non accetti
quei principi che relegano gli oppressi
ai margini della società.

E' Natale ogni volta che speri
con quelli che disperano
nella povertà fisica e spirituale.

E' Natale ogni volta che riconosci con umiltà i tuoi limiti e la tua debolezza.

E' Natale ogni volta che permetti al Signore di rinascere per donarlo agli altri."

Madre Teresa di Calcutta

Christmas in Librizzi during the war and post-war.

A friend asked me to write for her blog something about Christmas in my home, this is what I posted on her blog:
".... here is a little info about when I was growing up, I copied this from my unofficial 'remembrances' that I wrote for my children and grandchildren.

- Christmas celebrations were memorable. Mom along with the rest of the Librizzesi prepared special cookies and other foods. Christmas specialties were the torrone, the panuzzi, and the crispeddi. The torrone was a concoction of sugar and nuts such as almonds and hazelnuts. The panuzzi were made of sweet dough in the form of elongated ovals studded with toasted hazelnuts. The panuzzi were prepared for us children and for the cousins. The tradition was for the children to go from relative to relative and “collect” the gifts of the panuzzi.
The crispeddi were the result of a complicated procedure which started with flour, yeast, and water. The three items were mixed together and stirred for a long time until it became a soft dough, then the mixture was allowed to rise. When the dough grew to the desired stage spoonfuls of the dough were deep fried. Some of the dough was deep fried plain and some with a piece of anchovy inside. The plain crispeddi were covered with honey and sugar. Delicious!
The cookies were shaped into crescents, circles, pretzels, the letter S, spirals, etc. then they were covered with colorful sugars, and other decorations.

The Christmas food specialties were just an aside to the religious celebrations. For many days before Christmas the town was awakened by the sounds of the cornamusa, a folk musical instrument. Mountain men would come down to Librizzi in the wee hours of the morning and play their instrument while walking through the many streets. Christmas Eve Mass was a big event. The church was decorated with oranges, tangerines, and lemons and the scent of these fruits still lingers in my mind. The Presepio was a highlight of the church decorations and all of the children used to march to the Presepio to see the new born baby Jesus. Librizzesi specialized in putting up a Presepio in their homes. They were recreations of imaginary towns, waterfalls, snowy scenes, stars, shepherds, etc. It really was a work of art. A few homes put up Christmas trees and they were “odd” but interesting to the eyes of a Librizzese. The few people who put up the trees had been in America and had brought back this new tradition. Today all of Librizzi celebrates Christmas with both the Presepio and the Christmas trees.-"

Recipe by Mary Rappich

8 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages of yeast dissolved in 3/4 cup warm water (8 minutes)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups warm water

Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a large pan. Form a well and drop in the dissolved yeast. Mix thoroughly. Add lukewarm water a little at a time and keep beating with hand until bubbles begin to form in 'soft dough' (about 15-20 minutes). Grease top of dough and sides of pan with olive oil, cover and let rise until it doubles in size.

To deep fry: Heat Wesson oil (350 degrees in a deep fryer) which is about 3-4 inches deep in large pan. (I use a Dutch oven, also deep fryer at 350 degrees). Grease hands and drop pieces of dough into the hot oil a few at a time. Don't crowd as they will turn over when done. Place on a large platter and spoon honey on each. You can also place anchovies inside the dough before deep frying.

LinkIf you live in ROME where do you bring your children for Christmas fun and purchases? Why, Piazza Navona of course!

More photos of the Christmas market in Piazza Navona can be found here: -piazza-navona

Since there are no chimneys in Italy the children buy Santas on a rope ladder. Because there are no chimneys Santa doesn't need a sled and reindeer. Instead Santa scales the walls to reach a window where he can enter the house to leave the presents. Yes, in Italy Santa is an expert wall climber!

Photo from Italian Notebook

Rope ladders are hung by children outside a window while awaiting Santa's arrival.