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