Special Christmas Greetings from Sicily
Christmas is not always a joy for everyone, this is our wish,
that is, in the hope that you enjoy with us the magic of an old sicilian Christmas,
seen through the eyes of a child who was your doctor Claudio Italiano. Good navigation
and thank you for the affection you have for this homemade website.
Christmas time in Sicily
And you felt already in the air christmas time, when in class the bad child peels
the manderinos getting out from the miserable cardboard folders, while the scent
spreads in the room. You felt inside christmas time, when the school guardian, Miss
Maria, offered red christmas stars to the Holy Nativity where Baby Jesus replaced
the Holy Virgin of our teacher Ciccio Iannello; and I felt in the evenings the sounds
of the "Novena", a sweet lullabies, that the west wind was carrying among the stars
and the moon, in the night clear and sparkling, from the top of the hill of the
Immaculate, where Father Innocent spreads the music in the hearts.
Already on the eve of the Immaculate Conception or the same day, coming down from
our mountains, from Rometta, from Monforte or St. Lucia, the pipers, and we children
concerned if, by chance, for this other year the "ciaramellaro" had forgotten to
come. They stationed at the parishes, where in return for hospitality, undertook
to sound bagpipes during services. Someones, however, were organized in orchestras;
famous was the San Pietro of Milazzo's orchestras of 'Zu' Vanni 'u Zumbiuni" and
But, going on in years, also pipers became like industrial men and they went in
city by the first fiat 500, loaded with big bagpipes in the back seat. With sharp
nose from too many hardships, red cheeks of an incipient pulmonary emphysema, with
black corduroy jackets, heavy boots of herdsman, ski masks, they held on their shoulders
these huge bagpipers limp, decorated with colorful ribbons and red ribbons, we dont
known if for ornament or for "evil eye pierces" (out of the evil eye). And the children
were there, in front of small crib, with small ears plugged, to fear of the the
roar of the bagpipes on the agreement of C Major, which followed thunderous, when
was finished the grueling swelling of the bagpipes; then it followed five minutes
of "birulu, biluru .... and at the last a final peeeeee when the bagpipe
was squeezed, with the applause of those present and the joy of all be spent for
a new year in good health and still be all set to celebrate Christmas, which is
precisely the family feast. Then followed the classic glass of good wine, offered
to the ciaramellaro !
But it was Christmas, because already in the hearts there was preparing for some
time to the occasion ... and you could grasp the significance of Christamas, which
was the feast of the family reunited, friends and children. We did not have any
money to buy decorations: the older brothers or fathers themselves, however, in
their free time, they were full of initiative and went through the fields of Milazzo
to gather moss, which at that time still thrived on low walls of old Tono , among
the olive trees of San Papino and Cape, between sparacina and the spikes of the
first "asparagus villa", between "sipale" of the prickly pear, which then still
not bought at supermarkets, and "ntuppateddi", ie snails closed in guscio.
The Holy Child was decorated at home, by sparacina, oranges, sweet ...
The cribs were little ones, often made on the
bedside table, but in the eyes of the children seemed immense, magnified by the
imagination of two eyes wide open, with "spammaciri" (spermaceti), with small lights
floating on oil, musk lying among the few shepherds, the gravel du "but 'd' arreti"
(that is, the stones of the Sea of the west, that is behind), the "sparacina" pungent
collection for the occasion, the blueberry, the stars of the sky, the little angel
hung, the cork to the mountains, cotton for snow and oranges, manderini, almonds,
walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, "cassatedde", "mustada", and the last grapes that mothers
had placed a kind of offer to Holy Child, for the rich harvest they had had.
And 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 the belly of tunnina (ie the part below the tuna belly), and "scacciot"
(that is the dried fruit), between sweet figs, apples and small scented and some