Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again...

It's been called--accurately, I think--St. Patrick's Day for Italians. But characteristically for a culture of such excess, we do it over five days rather than one (and have to stifle the urge to think that proves we're five times better than the Irish). Hardened fans know it simply as "The Feast." The full name is Feast of the Assumption, which is tied to some ancient Catholic dogma about the "virgin Mary" (gotta have that virgin in there, even for moms) ascending into heavenly glory. (Masochists can learn more about that here). There may be a handful of older folk for whom that still resonates, but for the rest of us, this is essentially a giant cultural festival, a celebration of a way of life and an ethnic tradition (including, naturally, what is by far the greatest cuisine on Earth) that an entire neighborhood has stubbornly clung to for more than century, while also nicely blending in just enough cosmopolitanism (from art galleries to students from nearby CWRU) to make this easily one of Cleveland's most interesting neighborhoods.

This year's festivities are the 110th year it's played out in Cleveland's Little Italy, as civilians tend to call it, or Murray Hill, as we more often refer to it. As I wrote two years ago, I have an even deeper tie to the event, given that my dad plays each year in the featured band. My old pal Dan Hanson, the formidable and energetic Great Lakes Geek, nicely reposted that piece on his Cleveland Seniors site (he also maintains more than two dozen local sites on various ethnic groups in Cleveland, just click on them under groups along the left side of this site), and last night he took some video of the band that he'll no doubt post soon on YouTube. We'll bring you that link when it's up. Meanwhile, you have two more chances to catch the band in action this weekend, this evening (beginning around 7) and tomorrow evening, beginning at 6 p.m., when they'll play along with a chorale group dressed in colorful authentic garb.


At 5:08 PM, Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

I'm not Italian myself, but my hometown is.

Little Italy. I've only been to Mama Santo's so far, but YUM!

At 5:17 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Girl, I recommend you get your fanny down there this weekend. But what can you possibly mean by saying your hometown is Italian? Please illuminate us.


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