Christmas is not always a joy for everyone, this is our wish, that is, in the desire that you can enjoy with the magic of the Sicilian Christmas, seen from the eyes of Claudio Italiano, for how I once lived.
Following is our Christmas video and my story of the holidays and a page created for solidarity.
And Christmas came, with cold and hunger ! The Sicilian Christmas of the 60s
was not always a rich and happy Christmas: many children had their fathers
abroad, emigrants, and others belonged to poor families.
And I could feel it already in the air in the scent of mandarins that the street brat snorted in the classroom, pulling out the wedges from the cardboard folders; you caught him in the Christmas stars that the janitor, Miss Mary, offered to the Holy Crib where the Child Jesus replaced the Madonnina of prof. Ciccio Iannello; in the evenings of the Novena, then, you warned him in the sweet nenie that, the ponentino transported between the stars and the moon of the night sparkling and clear, from the hill of the Immaculate, of a Father Innocent that spread the music in the hearts. Already on the eve of the Immaculate or the same day, the ciaramellari descended from our mountains, from Rometta, from Monforte or from S. Lucia, and we children were worried if, by chance, for this other year the ciaramellaro had forgotten to come. They were stationed in the parishes, where in exchange for hospitality, they worked to play during the functions.
Others, on the other hand, organized themselves in orchestras; famous were that of San Pietro di Milazzo, "du 'Zu' Vanni 'u Zumbiuni" and "don Pippinu". But, going forward with the years, even the ciaramellari had become industrialized and came to town with the first 500, full of ciaramelle in the back seat. Disheveled in the face, with a nose sharpened by too many hardships, the red cheeks of an incipient emphysema, with the black fustian jackets, the heavy mandriano boots, the ski masks, they had on their shoulders these huge limbs crowed, adorned with colored ribbons and red ribbons, I do not understand whether for ornament or "evil eye" (outside the evil eye). And we there, in front of small cribs, with the family collected and the smallest with their ears plugged, as if to fear the roar of the reeds on the agreement of C Major, which followed the strenuous swelling of the ciaramella; then followed by 5 minutes of "birulu, biluru .... and the last final peeeeee squeezed with ciaramella, with the applause of those present and the joy of all to have spent a new year in good health and still be together to celebrate Christmas, which is precisely the family
The S. Sicilian Presepe: "a Cona 'di Natali", with oranges, manderins and sparacina, dried fruit and quince jam
party, then followed the classic glass of good wine, offered to the votive ciaramellaro! But it was Christmas, because already in the hearts we were preparing for the occasion ...
and you could to grasp the meaning of the Feast, which was the feast of the reunited Family, of the friends and of the little ones, about zero money to buy the decorations: the older brothers or the fathers themselves, however, in their free time, were rich in initiative and went among the fields of Milazzo to collect the moss, which at that time still flourished on the old walls of the Tono, among the olive trees of San Papino and Capo, between the sparacina and the spikes of the first "asparagus of the villa", among the "sipale" of figs dindia, which were not yet bought at supermarkets, and the "ntuppateddi", ie the snails enclosed in the shell.
The cribs were small, often carved on the nightstand, but in the eyes of the
little ones seemed immense, magnified by the fantasy of two wide eyes, with the
"spammaciri" (spermaceti), with the little lights floating on the oil, the moss
stretched out among the few pastorelli, the pethri du "ma 'd' arreti" (ie the
pebbles of the west sea, ie behind, because Milazzo essenso penisola has 2 seas),
the "sparacina" pungent harvest for the occasion, the blueberry, the stars of
the sky, the hanging little angel, the cork for the mountains, the cotton for
the snow and oranges, mandarins, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, confetti, "cassatedde",
"mustada", and the last bunches of grapes that the mothers they had placed an
offering to the Holy Child for the rich harvest they had had. And I do not tell
you the joy of Christmas Eve, when the family gathered at the table, in front of
the classic dish of pescestocco with potatoes or belly of tunnina (ie the
underside of the tuna, the belly), and the "scaccio" ( that is, the dried fruit
to be crushed), between very sweet dried figs, small and fragrant apples and
some nougat only. And the presents? A pair of woolen gloves or a scarf that
mother had knitted, a wooden toy with wheels to pull around the house and so
much affection. Then it was played "sparari u casteddu paratu c'u baddu di
nucidda nchiumbatu" (literally pull to the small pile of hazelnuts with the big
hazelnut plumbed), or "c'u channels". Now I ask myself, regardless of the
beautiful rhetorical discourses that are made in these days, we do not know
whether for show or as an expression of their way of being, when Christmas night
we perform behind our beautiful furs in an air-conditioned climate, who of us
can live Christmas more? Who among us is able to transmit the magic spirit of
the Christmas of Values to their children?
Is it the video game or the new smart phone to create the atmosphere and the spirit of Christmas, when the father looks at his beautiful football game and his son is neurotized elsewhere at the computer in games with the play station?
Happy Holidays, Claudio Italiano.