Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ghouls Invade Genoa

Rest assured Americans: the very best of our culture is being exported and adopted by the Europeans. I have to admit that I was quite surprised to find that Halloween is celebrated in Arenzano! I was curious when I saw some costumes and Halloween-ish candy being sold in the grocery stores, but knew that it was more than mere commercialism when I saw several carved and lit jack’o lanterns at the market (which was otherwise a disappointment in the pouring rain) and a sign in a toy store window in the pedestrian center of town (centro) advertising some sort of event at 4 p.m., after the kids were released from school.

I ventured down to the pedestrian area around 4:30 p.m. and saw a large number of children—some with plush pumpkin baskets, others with undecorated plastic bags— walking from storefront to storefront collecting candy. I have to say that the costumes were fairly lackluster—mostly witches, ghosts, some hair dye, and a few masks à la Scream. From what I could see while peering over the children, the candy selections were not of the highest quality (i.e., there did not appear to be any chocolate, of any kind, being doled out; mainly just sucking candies). Some of the kids yelled “Trick or Treat!” in English before being given their treat; others just participated in a group primal scream. Amazingly, it reminded me quite a lot of the Halloweens of my younger years. Parents taking pictures and standing back and kibitzing while the kids descended on the loot, holding umbrellas because it was raining (it always rained on Halloween in Tenafly in the 1980s and ’90s). I present to you a few relatively boring pictures, since I was wary of taking photos of children without their parents’ consent (and I don’t know how to ask for it in Italian). Note that even a few moms played along as they themselves donned capes and witches hats.

Additionally, once kids reach the age of 11 or 12, the day becomes less about treats and more about silly string, shaving cream, and eggs. There were quite a few remnants of all these items on all the main drags.
The shop owners stood guard over their wares as boys and girls alike ran down the ancient streets, figuring out how to pelt the weakest amongst them.

Now in addition to last Friday being Halloween, it was also officially our first Shabbat in Arenzano. While wine is pretty easy to come by, I had hoped that I would be able to locate some tapered candlesticks that could be adapted into Shabbat candles. However, this proved more difficult than it seemed. Curiously, while there were no paired candlesticks to be found, the grocery store did sell some sort of candle you can put in or near your ear to remove wax (maybe we’ll try those next week). Therefore, I hope I do not offend any Catholics in the audience by describing the solution to my waxen quest. I purchased a prayer candle (seems to be for the protection of the family and is, interestingly, shaped like our Yahrtzeit
(memorial) candles) and went about slicing it in half
so that I had two stout candle wicks. These should last us quite a while, and hopefully we’ll find some more appropriate, non-offensive candlesticks soon. (Note: This just in, the housewares shop at the “mall” has tapered candlesticks! As well as measuring cups in grams and milliliters. Guess it’s time to brush up on that metric system…)

In other exciting news, it appears that the local dog foster care program is in need of some volunteer dog walkers! Assuming that the dogs will listen to my commands in English (and the volunteer coordinator will understand my e-mail), I plan on looking into this. There are quite a lot of dogs here. And baby carriages. And baby carriages with dogs attached to them. We’ve found the Italian Park Slope!

Coming soon: Martello’s first post!

Baci e gelato,
Martello e Trofie Wife


andy said...

is there a synagogue in Arenzano?

Trofie Wife said...

No, but there is one in Genoa. We may be the only Jews in Arenzano...

Anonymous said...

as an ENT's wife, please don't ear candle!

hillel hammerman said...

most hardware stores sell candles(similar to shabat candles-typically in boxes of ten) in case of a power outages. They may not be as romantic or creative as your talented improvision but they will get the job done. Calling Tru-Value!!