October 26, 2014

Feast of San Vincenzo Martire

Viva San Vincenzo!
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
The fourth Sunday of October is the Feast Day of San Vincenzo Martire, patron Saint of Craco, Lucania. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to Saint Vincent. (*) The accompanying photo was taken during the 2012 Feast of San Vincenzo Martire at Saint Joseph's Church (5 Monroe Street) in Manhattan, the national shrine of San Vincenzo. For more on Saint Vincent's Feast Day please visit the Craco Society and the San Fele Society.

Prayer to St. Vincent
Patron of Craco, Lucania

O strong and glorious St. Vincent,
our distinguished patron, who
had the honor of giving your life
for loyal testimony to Jesus Christ,
turn your loving gaze on us
who by wise design of
providence, are, the unworthy,
fortunate guardians of your relics.

Teach us, oh, generous Martyr,
the tenacity to do good
in the way in which you serve as model,
having preserved good intentions
even when you were violently
torn from the quiet life of our family.

Communicate with our souls
a little of the great love
which you showed
evidence of in your lifetime.
Pray to the Lord Jesus
that because the generosity of
your love of the Cross, that our hearts will be
evermore enkindled.
Present to Jesus, sweet friend
of our souls and crown of Martyrs our
earnest desire to support
courageously, like you,
every suffering of our lives, Amen

(*) A Prayer to St. Vincent courtesy of the San Felese Society

October 25, 2014

The Lessons of Abu Tabela

Paolo di Avitabile
Oct. 25, 1791—March 28, 1850
By Lucian

Paolo di Avitabile was born in Agerola, near Amalfi. He was a Neapolitan soldier who reached the rank of Lieutenant and was recommended for promotion and decoration by General Delaver after displaying great courage and being wounded twice during the siege of Gaeta. Unfortunately, in his case, the General was ignored and Avitabile was instead transferred to a light infantry division under the same rank. He resigned in disgust at his treatment, but went on to become a successful mercenary in the east, and eventually became the governor of Wazirabad and then Peshawar. He was also a scholar and engineer, and worked closely with Lehna Singh Majithia, the renowned Sikh engineer. After his adventurous career he returned with his fortune to his homeland in Naples, where he married a local girl but then died under suspicious circumstances.

Although Avitabile was interesting and successful, you may be wondering why he is special enough to be remembered as a significant figure in Southern Italian history, especially since he became a mercenary and political figure outside of his European homeland. The answer is because Paolo di Avitabile was also known as the legendary figure Abu Tabela. Continue reading

October 24, 2014

Newark, New Jersey's Feast of San Gerardo Maiella in Pictures

Evviva San Gerardo! 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli

Sunday, October 19th, my friends and I joined thousands of pilgrims in Newark, New Jersey for the 115th Annual Feast of San Gerardo Maiella at Saint Lucy's Church. Always a fantastic turnout, celebrants came from far and wide for the celebration. 

Following Mass I took the opportunity to admire the church architecture and fantastic collection of religious statuary. Naturally, we ran into many friends and made several new ones, including a friendly gentleman from Atripalda, as might be expected, near the statue of San Sabino di AvellinoAfterward, we enjoyed a terrific lunch at our friend Frankie Antipasto's tent, who specializes in artisan salumi and other southern Italian delicacies.

When visiting the church you can't miss the Museum of the Old First Ward, located in the basement of Saint Lucy's Community Center. They have many historical treasures, including a fantastic collection of presepio figures. 

Before leaving, I picked up a few souvenirs at the gift shop for family and friends, then said my goodbyes. I offer my sincere and heartfelt thanks to the men and women of St. Lucy's Church for their hard work and giving us this wonderful opportunity to celebrate our faith and our culture. Evviva San Gerardo!
San Gerardo is carried from his chapel to the front of the altar
Devotees line up and cover the Saint with donations
Final preparations are made before the procession
The standard bearers are ready to go
Boy Scouts carry the flags at the head of the procession
Leaving the church to greet the expectant crowd
To everyone's delight San Gerardo emerges from St. Lucy's
Devotees bring their babies to be blessed by the Saint
It's always great to see our friends from the St. Joseph Society of Lodi (above) and the Monte San Giacomo Society of Hoboken (below)
We stopped by Buon Antipasto to say hello to our good friend Frankie (right), buy a couple of soppressata and, of course, try one of his amazing sandwiches
Some highlights from the presepio exhibit at the Museum of the Old First Ward
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

Also see: 

October 23, 2014

Feast of San Giovanni da Capestrano

Viva San Giovanni!
October 23rd is the Feast Day of San Giovanni da Capestrano, patron Saint of military chaplains and jurists. He is also the protector of Capestrano, a commune in the Province of L'Aquila (Abruzzo), where he was born in 1386. 

San Giovanni is revered as the "soldier saint" for his role in the valiant defense of Belgrade against the Ottoman Turks in 1456. With his fiery sermons, he helped raise a peasant army and assisted John Hunyadi, the heroic White Knight of Wallachia, in breaking the siege and routing the invaders. 

To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer in honor of St. John of Capistrano. The accompanying photo comes courtesy of Tea at Trianon.

Prayer to St. John of Capistrano

Lord, you raised up Saint John of Capistrano to give your people comfort in their trials. May your Church enjoy unending peace and be secure in your protection. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

O'Giglio Spogliato

Photo courtesy of Sons of San Paolino
Sunday, November 2nd (2pm)

Saint Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church
990 Holzheimer Street
Franklin Square, NY 11010

The Sons of San Paolino di Nola are pleased to announce that for the 1st time in New York, a giglio has been constructed with the key element of the true Neapolitan giglio. La Prima Borda, or La Borda for short, which is also known as "The Soul of the Lily.” This key element, along with its intricate construction of lightweight lumber will allow us to dance the giglio the way it was meant to be danced.

In the spirit of this throwback to authenticity, we will be hosting "O'Giglio Spogliato" November 2nd, at 2pm. For those who may not know, spogliato means “naked.” The giglio will not be dressed with its normal "face,” rather the bones or bare wood structure will be on display for all to see.

The intent of this afternoon will be to test the new style authentic structure, demonstrate proper lifting, dancing and turning techniques. So join us and celebrate this truly noteworthy event where giglio authenticity comes back to America.

Non vedo l'ora di vederti

For more info visit http://www.sanpaolino.org or find the San Paolino on Facebook

The Emperor of Philadelphia

No man in the history of the City of Philadelphia was more loved, hated, admired, feared and despised than Mayor Francis L. Rizzo, Sr.

Monument to Mayor Frank Rizzo
By Niccolò Graffio
“The streets of Philadelphia are safe.  It’s only the people who make them unsafe.” – Frank. L. Rizzo
“The City of Brotherly Love” began as a settlement founded by William Penn in 1682.  The previous year, Penn had received a charter from King Charles II of England to establish what would eventually become the Pennsylvania Colony.  Penn, a Quaker, had experienced religious persecution in England and was desirous of founding a colony in the New World where there would be absolute freedom of worship.  His “Holy Experiment” included the building of a city this farsighted soul believed would one day form, as he put it, “…the seed of a nation.”

The City of Philadelphia was officially established by Penn with the Charter of 1701. Penn derived the name of the city from the Greek philos (“love” or “friendship”) and adelphos (“brother”). At this time the city’s inhabitants were mostly settlers from the British Isles, as well as some Germans, Finns, Dutch and slaves from Africa. True to Penn’s vision, many religious minorities settled the area. In addition to Quakers, Mennonites, Catholics, Pietists and even some Jews helped to build the early city. As it grew, Philadelphia began to emerge as an important regional commercial center, facilitating trade between the Caribbean and British colonies in the northeast. Continue reading

October 22, 2014

Villa Palagonia at Caffè Vivaldi

Allison Scola of Villa Palagonia
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Tuesday, October 28th
(7pm – 8pm)

Caffè Vivaldi
32 Jones Street
New York, NY 10001 
(Off Bleecker Street, near Seventh Avenue)
(212) 691-7538

Villa Palagonia will spice up the scene at Caffè Vivaldi (a Greenwich Village classic restaurant, cafe, bar) with their spectacular renditions of traditional and original Sicilian-American folk music. There is no cover. Dinner, dessert, and drinks are encouraged.

For more about Villa Palagonia visit http://villa-palagonia.com

Also, check out Allison's fantastic website Experience Sicily

A Look at the 2014 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens

Final preparations are made before the procession
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Saturday, October 18th, I returned to Astoria, Queens to join the Societá Gioventú Quagliettana (3704 28th Ave, Astoria, NY 11103) for the annual Fiaccolata di San Rocco. Thank you Vincenzo Carpinelli and all the members of the society for your warmth and hospitality, it’s always a pleasure to celebrate with you. Evviva San Rocco!
(Above and below) Devotees gather outside the club for the fiaccolata
Gina and Peter's smiling faces lead the march
The procession makes its way through the neighborhood
(Above and below) Members carry candles and sing hymns for San Rocco
After celebrating Mass with Father Vincent, we depart St. Joseph's Church
Rocco Fasano leads the marchers in song
After Mass the procession makes its way back to the clubhouse
Outside the club, the ladies sing in praise of San Rocco
Inside, we were treated to some caffè and pastries 
I enjoyed a sfogliatelle
For more photos visit us on Pinterest

Also see: 

October 21, 2014

Beauty or Truth: Neapolitan Sculpture of the Late 1800s and Early 1900s

Curated by Isabella Valente. Progettazione tecnologica: Angelo Chianese

Complesso Monumentale di San Domenico Maggiore

Chiesa di San Domenico Maggiore, Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, 8, 80134 Napoli, Italia

Friday, October 31, 2014 to Saturday, January 31, 2015

Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II - Databenc, Distretto ad Alta Tecnologia

This exhibit is a unique chance to see all of the masterpieces of sculpture of 18th century Naples, an especially illustrious era for Italian and European art. 

For the first time, this exhibition offers the public a series of complex itineraries and the many personalities of the artists who were excluded from modern historical consideration. 

There are various sections: itineraries covering sculpture of the XIX century and early 1900s in Naples (Angelini, Lista, Gemito, Belliazzi, Amendola, Jerace, Palizzi, Franceschi, d’Orsi, De Luca, Renda, Cifariello, Barbellam De Mattei, etc...); the Jerace Collection of the city of Naples; virtual itineraries of unmovable monuments.

Official Event Website: http://www.ilbellooilvero.it/

October 20, 2014

Sicel-Sicilians and the Birth of Sicilian Culture

"Hybia is the name of a diety, doubtless a native
Sikel deity, in whose honor several spots of
Sikel soil were named." (Freeman)  
Photo courtesy of Journeying to the Goddess
By TOM VERSO (October 16, 2014)
Most histories of Sicily make a passing almost obligatory comment about the three ‘Original Sicilians’ encounter by the Greeks when they began colonizing the island in 735 B.C.: Sicels, Sicans and Elymians. Histories of Sicily generally begin with preface comments about the existing occupants and then jump into the Greek colonization. For example, Professor Gaetano Cipolla in his very very excellent book “Siciliana: Studies on the Sicilian Ethos” (Legas 2005), while giving an interesting and fair presentation of the Sicels, nevertheless writes: “We know little of the [Sicels] and Sikans, (more can be learned through a more aggressive archeological program)” (Kindle Location 673). Yes, it is true that “we know LITTLE of the [Sicels] and Sikans”! However, it is also true that we know MUCH more than what gets into contemporary history books. For example, Edward A. Freeman, in his “The History of Sicily From The Earliest Times Vol. I & II” (1891), devotes hundreds of pages of critical linguistic and historiograpahic analysis of ancient texts dealing with the ‘Original Sicilians’; the Appendices alone are staggering works of scholarship and analysis.
In short, while the American university system worships and perpetuates the myth that ‘Tuscany = Italy’, with endless studies of the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ Arno Valley culture, southern-Italian Americans can trace there history back over 3,000 years to the primordial beginnings of Western Civilization. If Guido / Guidette knew the profound history coursing their veins, they would stop being Guido / Guidette. But, then again: How can Guido KNOW … if there are NO … teachers … yoh? Continue reading

October 19, 2014

A Look at the 3rd Annual Columbus Day Giglio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(Left) This year's giglio facade was made in Nola, Campania. (Right) Detail depicting San Paolino returning a young Christian captive to his mother
By Giovanni di Napoli

Hundreds gathered in the rain last Monday for the Third Annual Columbus Day Giglio Party in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Hosted by the Giglio Boys Club, members transformed Lorimer Street (between Metropolitan Ave. and Conselyea St.) into a free outdoor party to showcase and celebrate southern Italian culture.

Arriving early, I was a little worried the inclement weather would dampen the celebration, but I was assured the festivities would go on rain or shine. Thankfully, the crowds came, the rain eventually subsided and the party went off without a hitch.

As might be expected, food is an important part of any party and the Giglio Boys pulled out all the stops when it came to feeding their guests. Tray upon tray of delicious southern Italian fare was generously provided, including fresh bocconcini, involtini di melanzane, and a wide variety of pasta dishes. I tried (and loved!) the trippa alla naploetana, oil-marinated diavoletti, capuzzelle and peperoni imbottiti.

In addition to all the wonderful food and music, there was, of course, the dancing of the giglio, a three story tower made with wood and papier-mâché in honor of San Paolino, patron saint of Nola. Dating back to the 4th century AD, the ornate structure is lifted by a hundred men and paraded through the streets with much fanfare.
Most importantly, the celebration was a terrific opportunity for family, friends and neighbors to get together and strengthen our community. It was great to see so many young people take an interest in their heritage, get involved with the preparations and participate in the activities.

Three cheers are in order for the Giglio Boys Club who did a spectacular job organizing the event. I’m grateful for all their hard work and tremendous generosity. Special thanks to Dom Veruzza for inviting us; my friends and I had a great time and we look forward to doing it again next year. Evviva San Paolino!
(Above and below) Hundreds gathered in the rain to celebrate Columbus Day
Beneath a shower of confetti the dance of the giglio begins
Marching down Lorimer Street
(Above and below) Revelers enjoy a wide variety of southern Italian dishes
Capuzzelle di angello was just one of the many delicious delicacies available
The boys make it look easy
Sonny Consolazio shows his pride
Popular with the young, this could be the beginning of a new tradition
Despite the lousy weather, the guys have tons of fun
The towering giglio lights the night sky
For more photos visit us on Pinterest