Thursday, December 25, 2008

Buon Natale!

As part of our cross-cultural exploration, Trofie Wife insisted that she and Martello make it to the live (with farm animals!) nativity scene at the Santuario e Seminario di Gesù Bambino as well as a portion of Midnight Mass, this likely being our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience this very Italian holiday while living in a veritable Italian commune.

We arrived at 11 p.m. for the nativity pageant, beautifully pantomimed by local children.

It was a long wait, but eventually three live donkeys and one micro-mini pony were introduced to the scene (and stayed behind to eat hay after their curtain call, penned in behind the piazza). We entered the beautiful church to get a sense of what this holiday entails for the faithful (Martello managed to snap a few photos before worship began; it is quite beautiful). 

We made it through the pre-Mass hymns (Trofie Wife swears that some of the Italian/Latin sounded like Hebrew…) and the processional and incense portion of Midnight Mass before leaving to take one last look at the donkeys and pony (sadly, no pony pictures) and then return home to pack for our upcoming vacation (yes, Trofie Wife is technically on one very long vacation…). 

Some observations from our time at the church: Trofie Wife insisted that she and Martello change out of jeans and into nicer pants so as to be respectful on this mega holiday. While some worshippers were decked out, the majority were on the casual side—most notably the dude wearing the Chelsea soccer club warm-up suit replete with sweatband. More than a handful of people seemed to come in, cross themselves, stay three minutes, and then depart. Perhaps they were headed to a smaller church but just wanted to pop into the big kahuna or perhaps they just needed to literally make their presence known and then duck out (not unlike many two-day-a-year Jews; I’ve heard that such Catholics also exist). All in all, a very interesting experience that Martello does not intend to repeat again! (Trofie Wife will probably check out some Stations of the Cross come Easter, should they be local enough.) But not to worry that we're merely dabbling in exoticism, we just found out how to get to the shul in Genoa, so it’s high on the priority list for an excursion in early 2009.

Please note that the blog will be taking a longer-than-usual hiatus as we spend the next week and a half travelling through Italy and Switzerland. Planned stops include a town overlooking Lake Como (where, unbeknownst to Trofie Wife before she quickly booked it, is where Mussolini and his wife met their ends…), Zurich (to visit with Trofie Wife’s sister and family), and assorted towns throughout Switzerland that boast design delights (and hopefully, for Trofie Wife’s sake, chocolate). We’ll be sure to update you on our adventures when we return.

To everyone celebrating any and all winter holidays, we say Auguri! (best wishes) e buon anno!

Baci e gelato,

Martello e Trofie Wife

1 comment:

andy said...

Of course a Chelsea would exhibit such a lack of decorum.