Saturday, September 6, 2008

Could be Italy

but it's not. It's the North End of Boston. A place my grandparents emigrated to from Italy - Avellino to be exact.

My family, along with cousins, aunts and uncles would travel into this piece of Americana == back to their neighborhoods. It was a yearly ritual every Sunday in August to lean out the tenement windows on pillows and watch the processions of Momma Nonas shrouded in black and barefoot, praying the rosary behind the hoisted statue of the saint for the celebrated feastday. A few of my uncles were the bearers of the statues. And, apparently quite a few of us, the second and third Italian-Americans share these traditions. I overheard a father telling his young teen daughter an almost identical story as mine.

These photos were taken at the Fishermen's feast. The largest feast is, of course, St. Anthony's, on the last weekend of August.

My Hawaiian fiance is liking the fried dough, a staple of these festivals. My family called them 'johnny cakes'. I don't have an explanation of why they are called johnny cakes. Googled them and defined as made with cornmeal. Not so in this family - and I think that is pretty much a generic term for Boston - at least. If anyone knows the history of this, I would appreciate hearing it. Mahalo!

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