Do you speak Italian?
Learn conversational Italian in this 8-week course taught by Professor Mark Pritchard.
Classes will be held on consecutive Wednesday evenings, beginning February 7th.
Cost is $100.
Siamo arrivati anche a febbraio
We have also arrived to February
I hope you have had a good January. The weather varied from frigid cold to mildly sunny but we survived. In February we will begin our yearly events starting with an Italian conversation class every Wednesday for 8 weeks. Please sign up if you’d like to participate in this. Naturally, all of the preparations of our St. Joseph event are going to start in the middle of February and culminate with the Feast of St. Joseph in mid-March.
As I began to think about this month’s article I reflected on some of the many treasures displayed in the museum at the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa. One of these treasures is the many examples of Murano glass.
Murano Glass is made in Murano, one of the over 150 islands that make up Venice in northeast Italy. Murano’s glassblowers were (and still are) leaders for centuries on a European and worldwide level. They have become masters of this art and, in many cases, pass on this art of glassblowing to generations within the same family. Centuries-old techniques are still used today by Murano glassblowers to create massive and elegant chandeliers to figurines to stemware to wine-stoppers. Styles range from very traditional to extremely contemporary.
Murano Glass consists of 70% silica sand added to 30% stabilizers usually made up of soda and lime. These stabilizers allow the glass to melt at a lower temperature and also prevent the glass’s solubility in water. Murano Glass starts out colorless. By adding small amounts of minerals, oxides, and chemical derivatives to the base powder the glass can take on an infinite combination of transparent, opaque, or alabaster colors. Curiosity: it is impossible to obtain the color black in Murano Glass. If one looks very closely (or holds the object up to the light) the true color will be either a dark blue, dark purple, or dark green. Yet the color is so intense and dense that it appears black.
Our own museum houses many examples of Murano glass coming from some of the most prestigious and famous glass factories in Murano, including Salviati, Seguso Viro, Barbini, and Carlo Moretti just to name a few. Please take time to visit our museum at the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa.
Please support the efforts of the Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa in order to spread our culture throughout our community.
Buon San Valentino a tutti – Happy Valentine’s Day to you all
Paolo Bartesaghi, President
Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa
E siamo arrivati al 2018!
We have arrived to 2018!
So much has happened in 2017 and I am sure much will happen in 2018. During this past month, Santa Lucia and the two (and not one) cookie classes were a huge success and well attended. Be ready for more of these types of events continuing throughout 2018.
In January our Event Committee will meet and be busy organizing the Calendar of Events for the whole year. We hope to publish this with our February Newsletter, so be looking for opportunities to become involved and to attend.
On January 24th we will be offering a class featuring three typical Italian soups. Please visit our website for additional information.
Please remember to look for our newly formatted Newsletter that will also be available on our website in the 1st quarter of 2018.
“Subscribe” to our website at www.iaccofia.org to receive notifications of each new posting.
As we begin the New Year I began wondering how we determine the start of a new year. I began researching and found that previous to our Gregorian calendar, the world used the Julian calendar method. Yet, what was used before this to count days and seasons?
It was the Roman calendar that was used by the world. This was mostly an observational lunar calendar whose months began in conjunction with the first signs of a new crescent moon. Since each lunar cycle is about 29.5 days long, each month lasted between 29 and 30 days. However, twelve months of this fell 10 to 11 days short of the solar year, so this was made up through some form of calculation during the winter months. That way the Romans were able to maintain their seasonal religious festivals. The Romans eventually organized their year as one with ten fixed months, each containing 30 or 31 days. The nearly 60 days missing were, again, made up during the winter months as additional days belonging to no month, were added until it seemed everything was back in its’ proper place.
The Julian calendar was proposed by none other than Julius Caesar around 45 BC and took effect on January 1 by an edict. He was hoping for a more accurate timeline for sowing and harvesting crops. This calendar had a regular year consisting of 365 days and was divided into 12 months. An added day (leap day) was added to February every four years, thus, the calendar was 365.25 days long on average. This was intended to approximate the Solar Year.
However, Greek astronomers had known that the Solar Year was slightly shorter (11 minutes) than 365.25 days and this Julian calendar did not compensate for this difference. As a result, this calendar would gain about 3 days every 4 centuries.
The Julian calendar was not corrected until 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII issued the Gregorian Reform establishing what is known as the Gregorian Calendar that is currently used even today. The Gregorian calendar has the same months and days as the Julian calendar, however, this calendar does not add a Leap Day in years that are divisible by 100. The exception for this is when the year is evenly divisible by 400, which is why the year 3000 had 29 days in February. However, there will be no Leap Day in the year 2100 or 2200, for example.
Countries, including Italy, Spain and France converted from Julian to Gregorian immediately in 1582. Great Britain didn’t switch until 1752. Greece didn’t stop using the Julian calendar until as recently as 1922. Some wonder why Russia didn’t switch to the Gregorian calendar with the rest of Europe. Many believe this was due to the fact that this calendar was introduced by a Roman Catholic Pope. Russia did eventually switch over in 1918.
Thanks again for your support in 2017 and I kindly request your continued support of the efforts of the Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa in 2018 in order to spread our culture throughout our community.
Grazie – Thank You
Buon Anno Nuovo – Happy New Year
Just in time for the holidays…
Strain your Limoncello through a cheese cloth, into glass bottles & freeze.
Lighting of the Christmas fire, a candlelight procession to the altar of St Lucy, followed by a prayer service for those who have departed in 2017 and those who have remembered a deceased individual through our Memorial or Foundation Program.
Ragazzi Italian Folk Dancers will perform 2 Christmas dances. Traditional “cuccia” will be served.
Open to the public, free of charge.
Tree will be ready December 1st.
All donations are given to the Bidwell Center for distribution.
Ciao a tutti, Hello to everybody,
As we enter into the Christmas season, I would like to tell you about a few of the events happening at the Italian American Cultural Center:
- December 1, the tree will be ready for our annual Mitten Tree where we collect mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves for the needy.
- December 10 at 3pm, we are having our annual Santa Lucia celebration.
- December 12, Nancy Danca will teach a cookie making class featuring love-knots and chiacchiere (wandas)
- Some new and exciting news about our newsletter – starting at the beginning of the new year we are going to have a digital newsletter. However, we will continue to mail a paper copy for those who wish to read it in this manner. We are currently studying the layout and content and we will also feature paid advertising. I will keep you posted of all information regarding this new initiative.
I would like to let you know about the history and traditions of Natale (Christmas). Natale is a Christian festivity celebrating the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem Judea (now known as Palestine). December 25th is celebrated throughout the Christian world while people prepare Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, midnight Mass, gift exchanges, and singing holiday carols. In Italy, this day is traditionally used for preparing the Presepe (Nativity) in churches, town squares, and public places. This tradition began with the first living Presepe in 1223 by San Francesco d’Assisi in Greccio (Lazio). Wooden statues sculpted by Arnoldo di Cambio can be found in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Nowadays, France has made these Presepe a very important tradition in their holiday festivities, especially in the Provence region where they are known as “Santons”.
Christian Orthodox celebrate Natale on January 6, which is the Twelfth Day. Many of us know the carol “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” which represents the time period between December 25 and January 6.
The Pine tree was chosen by the Christian people as the Christmas Tree from all of the evergreen trees because of its triangular shape which represents the Holy Trinity. The first Christmas tree was introduced into the holiday season in Germany in 1611 by the Duchess of Brieg and in France beginning in 1840 by the Duchess of Orleans. Decorating the Christmas tree for Christmas was already popular by 1600 in Northern Europe. Catholics, after the reformation of Martin Luther (1483-1546) considered decorating Christmas Trees to be a Protestant tradition. It wasn’t until the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) that the Prussians began diffusing this tradition of decorating also in Catholic countries.
I wish each and every one of you a Blessed Holiday Season.
Please support the efforts of the Italian American Cultural Center in order to spread our culture in our community.
Grazie – Thank you
BUON NATALE – Merry Christmas!!
Paolo Bartesaghi, President
Italian American Cultural Center of Iowa
Photos from “An Evening in Sicily.