February 28, 2010

Fresh hamantaschen, kid-made groggers, Jewish friends, a creative re-telling of the Story of Queen Esther, and sunny weather all made for a very good Purim.

We also have a new favorite Purim book to share: Raisel's Riddle. Although, it takes place during Purim, it's a book that would be great for all families and throughout the year. It's a creative re-telling of Cinderella with a focus on the importance of learning...instead of a glass slipper it is a riddle that unites the happy couple. Beautifully illustrated and well written without all of the artificial sweetness found in most fairy tales and without the blandness that can sometimes be found in Jewish holiday books. We highly recommend it and we know that it will be a long time favorite in our family.

And while plugging Jewish books, let me also put a plug in for the amazing PJ Library. We have been members of the PJ Library for over a year now and I can not say enough good things about it. As a Jewish military family, we are seldom in locations with large Jewish congregations. This means we have to work a little harder to create opportunities for Jewish learning and community. Prior to PJ Library, we spent a great deal of money purchasing Jewish books. Now, we look forward to receiving two new books or Jewish CDs in the mail each month. The books that are sent to us are selected for the specific ages of our kids. They diverse selection highlight Jewish history, holidays, and folktales and they are FREE. If you are a Jewish family, take some time to visit their site to determine if the program is available in your area (also note,there is a special section for Jewish military families). Thanks to PJ Library for sending us Raisel's Riddle and so many other treasured books.

Happy Purim!


I am a chronic procrastinator. I try to change it, but more often than not, I end up using that frantic energy to get things done at the last minute. I also often spend that frantic time cursing under my breath, snapping at my children, and swearing to myself that I will change my last-minute ways. It's an on-going internal conflict for me. Functioning best with that adrenaline rush, but at the same time feeling bad about it and wanting to change it.

In the past few months,however, I have seen some of the positive benefits of procrastination in the garden. The first incident happened in our back yard. When we first moved here our backyard was just a fenced in box of grass. At least it appeared that way, until we didn't mow the grass for several weeks and suddenly I noticed bright green shoots growing up around the perimeter. The mowing still didn't get done and those shoots then turned into big green clumps. I began to suspect they were bulbs of some sort. And sure enough by December our backyard had a beautiful display of paperwhites.

The second procrastination pay-off: letting our arugla bolt. We didn't eat it quickly enough and we now have a pot full of pretty white blooms (see the pic?) which will hopefully re-seed and produce more on its own. Neither one is an earth shattering discovery or life-changing event, but rather a good reminder to myself: Letting things go isn't always a bad thing.It is highly unlikely that I will ever truly be an early or an overly-organized person, but I am trying to embrace the fact that I will be the person who enjoys the unmown paperwhites and the bolted arugula blooms. Now if only I could find some positive benefits to letting the dishes or the laundry go....sadly those piles of procrastination never seem to grow anything except mold or mildew.

Sicilian Hamantaschen

February 24, 2010

We recently made our first batch of hamantaschen since moving to Sicily. Happy to report they had a Sicilian taste to them.We made them using the juice of freshly picked blood oranges, Bina's eggs, and peach jam made by our Sicilian neighbor. We usually make apricot, but the fresh peach taste was delicious. I wish I had photos of the finished products but they disappeared too quickly. Purim is this Sunday and we are hosting a little party so we'll be baking more again very soon. For now you can take a peek at our hamantaschen from last year and the recipe that we use every year.

And speaking of tasty things, I wanted to pass along a book recommendation. Sweet Sicily is quite the delicious read. Full of great photos, stories, history, and recipes. The festival section was particularly wonderful and I am eager to experience our first Easter in Sicily. Also eager to visit some of the places she lists in the back of the book. Perhaps our weekly hikes will now become a weekly quest to sample the best of the Sicilian sweets. To be honest, I guess we have been doing that already, but not with such a detailed focus or the book's thorough list. But wouldn't that be a good idea? A guide map highlighting Sicily's best hikes and pasty shops....not a bad way to experience a place, right?

An Unexpected Perk

February 23, 2010

All of my life I have had a "unique" name. As a kid it kind of bothered me and it was annoying to constantly be correcting its pronunciation and spelling. As I grew older, I learned to love it and it's connection to my family. I savor the stories of the women I am named after (my great-grandmother and my great-aunt) and I enjoy sharing it with one of my cousins. If you don't know me in person, it is pronounced "loo-sha". It is how my family has always pronounced it. Now that I am in Italy is pronounced "loo-chee-a" and when we travel to Spain I anticipate that it will be pronounced "loo-see-a".

So here's the unexpected perk. In addition to having a name that easily adapts to an Italian pronunciation, I am, for the first time in my entire life, able to enter a tourist shop and very quickly find my name on the shelf of personalized name plates/mugs/cheesy magnets, etc. I know it is silly, but believe me as a child it was always so disheartening to know that I would never find my name in the mix with all of the Jennifers and Michelles on the spinning rack at the truck-stop. I am afraid that Camille will face a similar issue when we return to the States, but not here in Italy where she is known and loved as Camilla. Unfortunately, Adam and Noah do not have quite the same luck with their names in the Italian tourist shops. I am a little worried that my giddiness over this discovery will mean that most of our Italian souvenirs will be cheap crap with my name all over it, but for now I have to admit it is fun to have a name that is "popular".

Exploring: Pantalica, Part 2

February 22, 2010

So here's the second part of our hike: the descent into the river area. As we hiked around the rim of the canyon, we began to notice that the walls of stone were covered with thousands of openings. We had entered the necropolis. And not just any necropolis, but actually the largest rock necropolis in all of Europe. Thousands of burial sites dating back to the 13th-7th centuries BC. It was hard to believe what we were seeing and even harder to believe that once again we were not standing in long lines or buying tickets to see this amazing piece of history. If you enlarge the first photo, you can see the square openings carved into the walls of both sides of the canyon. It is a huge and impressive sight.At this point the path became increasingly steep and narrow as we climbed down towards the river. We left the sunny, flower covered paths of the upper rim and entered a cool, shady world of moss covered rocks and rushing water. The kids were drawn to the water like magnets. Camille worked diligently at producing some of her own creations with the river rocks. While the boys scampered up and over the large rocks trying to find a way to get all the way across the river. When Adam and the kids were hiking the same path in January, they had been able to walk across on the low stones, but this time the water was higher and we didn't attempt it. The water was clear and it would be very inviting on a hot summer day. It was so clear in fact that we saw our first snake since moving to Sicily. We watched a small water snake try to catch a frog. Which reminded me that I should get my hands on a good identification book(s) for animals/reptiles of Sicily/Mediterranean. Any suggestions?
A few final thoughts on this hike. We entered the park through the Sortino entrance. After passing through the town of Sortino, follow a small winding road towards Panatlica until it comes to a dead end. Park on the side of the road and enter through the small gravel path. Be sure to bring water, sunscreen, and snacks. There aren't any facilities on this path. The other, larger entrances apparently have parking areas, bathrooms, and one even has a museum/visitor center. The other entrances are also supposed to have more gentle hiking paths. We would not recommend this particular Pantalica hike for those with bad knees/ankles. It is also not a good hike for families with babies or young children who might wander off the edge of the canyon (there aren't any railings). It is not stroller friendly and could be scary even to have a kid in a carrier/backpack because of the steep areas.

We had a great day and look forward to exploring more of Pantalica on future visits.

Exploring: Pantalica, Part 1

February 21, 2010

It's been feeling like spring here lately so we headed out yesterday for a hike at Pantalica. Adam and the kids did the same hike back in early January and they wanted to show me their discoveries. What a hike! During their first trip to Pantalica they hiked for five hours and once I saw the terrain I was even more impressed. It is beautiful, but the descent down into the canyon is very steep and rocky. The hike itself felt as if it was two different hikes because of the dramatic change in scenery as we made the trip from the upper region down to the river area.

On the upper part of the hike we started to see why all of the guide books rave about Pantalica in the spring. The almond trees are blooming, the cacti are bright green, and the wildflowers are just starting to open. Yesterday the path was decorated with wild sweet peas and Asphodelus. The weather was balmy, the sky was blue, and once again we had the place all to ourselves. I am afraid that this blog will soon just become a monotonous series of photos of wildflowers and ruins. I promise I'll try to spice things up a bit and post other stuff, too. But for now, be forewarned: the spring wildflower season is starting.

A quick note about the Asphodelus. The Greeks associated these flowers with death and believed they bloomed in the Elysian fields which was the final resting place for heroes. Stay tuned for part 2 of our Pantalica hike to see why it seems appropriate that the hiking path was covered with asphodelus.

Roman Wedding

February 19, 2010

Yes, the Coliseum was massive and impressive, but really it was the Roman brides and the Gladiators roaming in front of the Coliseum that captured my attention. The Gladiator guys leap around seeking out tourists eager to pay for photos. While an almost endless stream of brides pile out of fancy cars and parade to the front of the colliseum where they pose for photos. And then in one very amusing moment the bride and the gladiator seemed to collide right in front of us. When this Gladiator jumped in on the bridal shoot, I couldn't resist getting a shot. Flamboyant, glittery, entertaining, and one of my favorite Roman moments.

Thanks to Emily and her family's recent trip to Rome which triggered this little memory from our trip in September. If you are planning a family trip to Rome, be sure to check out their Rome reading list. Hungry for more travel posts? Visit Delicious Baby for Travel Photo Friday.


February 17, 2010

Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden. ~Robert Brault

Fresh from the garden: our first head of broccoli.

February List

For Writing: Family Connection Letter Writing Center

For Laughing: That Is Priceless

For Listening: Spilled Milk

For George: And the Pursuit of Happiness

For Eating: Fool-i-ya-baise easy and delicious with a fresh baguette (we usually skip the rouille part and it is still a big hit)

For Collecting: nature journals and a nature museum

For Listing: the perfect and unexpected gift (thank you, Megan!)

For Mamas: Mom 2.0 : Defining a Movement

For Dreaming: family trip of a lifetime wouldn't you love to be there right now? We would.

Chocolate and Artichokes

February 16, 2010

Yesterday started with a tour of the Condorelli chocolate factory, then on to their delicious bakery/cafe, followed by a leisurely lunch on the side of Mt. Etna, snowball fights with the kids, and ended with freshly picked artichokes. One of the things I love most about living in Sicily is buying fresh produce from little trucks on the side of the road. I really do love it. Artichoke season is starting here. Yesterday's roadside purchase: 25 artichokes for 5 Euros! Kind of like chocolate, is it possible to ever have too many artichokes? I don't think so, but twenty-five is a lot so I did share them with friends. Still can't believe how tasty yesterday's adventure was. Artichokes and Chocolate all in one day. Delicious!

Olympic Love

February 14, 2010

We woke up to a very rainy day and suddenly our plans changed. Instead of experiencing our first Sicilian Carnivale parade we opted to stay home, lounge around in our pjs, exchange Valentines, eat lots of chocolate, and watch the Olympics. It turned out to be a very good day. Noah is especially fired up about the Olympics this year. He made his own little Olympic Lego athletes: on skis, on a luge, and on a bobsled. And when the rain stopped later in the day, he challenged Adam to some serious scooter racing (think speed skating but on scooters around a basketball court!). His excitement has us all a little more fired up than I expected. It is actually good timing as we prepare for a German ski trip in a few weeks. We are headed to Garmish-Partenkirchen where the 4th Winter Olympics were held in 1936. We keep telling Noah he will be learning to ski for the first time and he will NOT be doing any ski jumps, but I think he is secretly dreaming about it.

Have any advice for our first family ski trip?

Threads of Connection

February 13, 2010

I got in on the Valentine-making frenzy of this week,too. Inspired by the kids' recent watercolor valentines and Camille's recent drawings (lots of map drawings like above), I made my own watercolor valentines and then sewed them onto cards. My poor sewing machine has been used to sew more paper than fabric recently. We have been binding lots of little blank books and cards with the sewing machine. It has been a collaborative and on-going project with Camille. She tears or cuts bits of paper which I sew onto the hearts and blank cards. And then her work continues as she cuts off each of the little threads on the cards. I love the way the the sewn bits of paper look on the blank cards. And Camille, in addition to the cutting of thread and paper, loves to see the maps of red thread emerge under the needle.

Now that I think about it also ties into some of our recent reads and the Chinese belief in the red threads that bind us to those we are destined to be with forever. It is a popular part of modern adoption stories and culture. It is actually the title of the only Grace Lin book I am not especially fond of, but one that Camille wants me to read over and over to her this week. It is an adoption fairy tale centered around the story of the red thread. The illustrations are lovely and the story is sweet until the very end. The parents complete their long journey in a rural Chinese village where they discover the red threads attached to their hearts are also attached to the ankles of a waiting baby girl. The parents ask the villagers who the child belongs to and an old woman emerges to tell them she is their baby. The parents take the baby and return to their kingdom where they live happily ever after with their new Asian princess.

A sweet ending, right? Except it rubs me the wrong way. It is all just too perfect, too easy, too clean, and too Disney-like for me. Especially the significant absence or even acknowledgment of a birth family. I am sure my reaction is a result of our own adoption experience. We are lucky to have some threads of Camille's early history. We have met her birth family and we continue to send them updates. They requested that we send updates around the time of her birthday and Chinese New Year. And so as we prepare to send photos, drawings, and stories, I can't help but think about the red threads that connect them to her and to us. Although, we have not heard back from them, those invisible threads of connection are still very strong to me. They are forever a part of Camille's life and ours, too.

I didn't mean to ramble on in this direction but I guess that's what happens with matters of the heart. Wishing you all a very Happy Valentine's Day! May you treasure the red threads that weave a tangled map within your heart and connect you to the ones you love.

Grace Lin In Our Pockets

February 11, 2010

Grace Lin has been one of our family's favorite authors/illustrators for a long time. And she continues to win a spot in our hearts. We are currently in the middle of reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. It isn't always easy to find books for family reading that appeal to a seven year old boy and a four year girl, but this is a good one. Filled with adventure, lively characters, and peppered with Lin's vibrant illustrations, we are hooked and look forward to reading a few more chapters each night. We are anxiously waiting and hoping that she will continue to produce more books in her series that started with The Year of the Dog. Those are also great family books, especially during Chinese New Year.

In addition to keeping her place in our hearts, Lin is now in our pockets. Picpocket Books is one of my new favorite apps for my I-touch. We started with Round As A Mooncake which is one of Camille's all-time favorite books. I have to admit that I was initially very skeptical and even a little leery about the whole idea of any type of digital book, but the Picpocket books are so easy to use, beautifully executed, great for new readers with the highlighted text, and perfect for traveling. I am already planning to upload some Picpocket books for our upcoming trip to Germany. Reading books on the I-touch will never replace reading in the traditional way (we are truly a family of bookworms!) but I have a feeling we will be loving our Picpocket books even more when standing in those long passport/security lines.

Have any good family reads to share? Or favorite I-touch apps? Or just want to share in the Grace Lin love?

Ranch Dressing and Peanut Butter

We are part of an exchange program where we are matched with an Italian family. It has been fun and at times just plain funny. This past weekend they came to our house for lunch. We kept it simple and just did hamburgers/hotdogs, chips and salsa, veggies and ranch dressing. Boring, right? I was worried that they might be disappointed. Luckily I was wrong. It started with the Ranch dressing. They cautiously had a first taste and then quickly started gobbling it up and even pouring it on top of their hamburgers and hot dogs. From there it was on to the salsa and the blue corn chips, the pickled okra, Fresca. All new tastes for them. After lunch instead of moving into the living room, we somehow ended up in our little kitchen where we stood in front of our pantry and refrigerator. They started pointing at different items. Exclaiming about things they had only seen on movies before...specific brands like Hellman's, Heinz (guess that branding stuff is pretty effective!). And then the tasting started. They had never tasted peanut butter before so we handed them each a spoonful. Water chestnuts. Doritos. It was pretty amusing to see four adults (all with advanced degrees), using body language, an Italian/English dictionary, tasting peanut butter, and engaged in a discussion about "American" food. Forget cherry pie, apparently Ranch dressing and peanut butter are the true American delicacies.

Personally, I think we got the better end of the exchange...those Italian sweets they brought taste much better to me than Ranch dressing!

Year of the Tiger

February 10, 2010

So while we were making Valentine's earlier today, it turns out that two of our favorite blogs were sharing ideas about Chinese New Year. Perfect timing and motivation to get going on our own New Year's preparations. Check out the great list of craft ideas at The Crafty Crow. Our good fortune banners from last year were included in the list. Thanks! And then head over to The Artful Parent where Jean has highlighted our New Year's reading list and some other fun things including recipes for dumplings. We love to eat them but have never attempted to make them from scratch. Sounds like a good thing to try in the Year of the Tiger!

A note about the pic: seemed fitting as we are saying good-bye to the Year of the Ox/Cow and preparing to welcome the Year of the Tiger....anyone recognize it? It's from last year's Seder table.


Our dining room table is covered with hearts. It is the annual paper cutting, gluing, stickering, valentine-making mess that I love. The week building up to Valentine's Day is always busy in our house. It starts off with Noah's birthday celebration then continues into Valentine's Day which is also our special family day. Additionally we celebrate Chinese New Year's and Mardi Gras which usually occur around the same time (varying each year by a week or two)...well this year, we will be celebrating everything at once since they all happen this coming weekend! In many ways it is the perfect way to acknowledge and celebrate our family's unique mix. I never really enjoyed these particular holidays until I had children, but now it is one of my favorite times of the year.

So this morning as Camille and I were making Valentine's together, she initiated a conversation about falling in love. She stated that she was so happy to be falling in love with Daddy and Noah. I tried to clarify that falling in love wasn't quite the same as loving friends and family members. I started to ask her about other people that she loves. I mentioned one of her friends, Lilly. Camille got a puzzled look on her face and said "but I can't love a girl". I took the opening and explained that actually she could love a girl and that some families had two mamas because they loved each other. She continued to have a puzzled look on her face and then she stated: "Well, I'll tell you this. I will never....(long pause followed by a smile and a giggle)I will never fall in love with a run-away pancake". Love is a funny thing especially to a four year old!

While on the topic of love and family, I am happy to announce that I had the winning post in the Mamma Mia:Parenting Stories category of the Blogging from the Boot competition. I feel very honored to be a part of such an interesting and talented group of bloggers throughout Italy. Thank you!


February 9, 2010

Noah turned seven today. Seven seems so big and it is. It is forts, nerf gun battles, Star Wars Legos, sleep-overs, and lots of jokes about bodily functions. All sorts of big boy stuff which was making me feel kind of nostalgic last night. And then Noah showed me that seven means other stuff, too. Sitting at the dinner table last night, Noah started talking about how he couldn't wait to wake up in the morning to find his presents, birthday cards, and his number seven shirt. It caught me off guard. I hadn't made a shirt for him because I assumed he would think it too babyish. I was exhausted from staying up late and had to do lots of digging to find the fabric and fusible webbing, but it also made me smile. My sweet little monkey boy loves traditions as much as I do. And as I tucked him into bed, he reached for my hair, rubbed it against his cheek and sighed with contentment. It turns out seven is a mama-made t-shirt, dirty fingernails, and a Star Wars clone guy all mixed together. And I love that mixture. Happy Birthday, Noah!

Louisiana Saints

February 8, 2010

I am not a football fan, but I am a Louisiana girl and that is why I was up until 4am this morning in Italy to witness this. Funny how our weekend has been dominated by Italian and Louisiana Saints. I wish I was at home right now. I can only imagine the frenzy, the excitement, and the joy. I wish my dad had been alive for this. A very proud victory! Way to go Saints!

St. Agatha Festival

February 7, 2010

Candles, fireworks, crowded streets, balloons, intense devotion, stamina, horsemeat sandwiches, sweets of all kinds including the symbolic breast cakes, a city transformed into another time and place. The St. Agatha Festival was amazing. Still sorting through all of the sensory experiences and photographs from the night.

After just a few hours, we were exhausted. I have no idea how the devotees do it for multiple days and nights, but they do. Karen from Lost in Sicily has a beautiful post about their experience a few years ago when they did the full festival. We are already looking forward to next year and hoping to make it to sunrise on the last day when the St. Agatha procession stops in front of a cloistered convent. The nuns make a rare public appearance and sing to St. Agatha. Sicily continues to work her magic on us. One memorable experience after another. "Viva St. Agata"!

Watercolor Valentines

February 5, 2010

Art group made watercolor valentines today. Aren't they beautiful? A few notes for future: (1) these liquid watercolors are great, (2) cardboard works well as a protective barrier for the floor, (3) taping down the paint cups (applesauce/yogurt containers) prevents spills with the younger ones, (4) must invest in some good watercolor paper for future projects, and (5) be prepared to move quickly. The kids pumped out one valentine after another at a very quick pace which kept the mamas moving this morning...refilling paint, cutting out more hearts, trying to find enough drying spots,etc. We left most of them in the closet to dry. Can't wait to see how they will look when totally dry.

South of Rome

February 4, 2010

Some very good news to share: South of Rome is back and Karen was kind enough to feature our little blog yesterday. It's always funny to see how paths cross and mingle over the years. I had no idea when Karen and I met in Japan seven years ago that we would go on to "share" European adventures via blogging. I can't gush enough about how helpful Karen's book, In Etna's Shadow, has been for us as we settle into our new Sicilian lives. I haven't come across any other book that delves into the farmers markets, the food, the festivals, and the culture in such a satisfying way. And believe me, I am working my way through the Sicilian book collection at the library!

But I would also like to highlight what a great resource her blog is. If you are planning a trip to Italy, getting ready to move here, or just want to escape the winter doldrums with a virtual trip to Italy: visit South of Rome. Although, Karen is currently in the States she continues to have great advice, stories, and tempting photographs that will make you want to hop the next plane for Southern Italy.

Thank you, Karen!

Exploring: Burri and Fontana

February 3, 2010

Success! We made it back to Catania yesterday and finally got to see the Burri and Fontana exhibit. Alberto Burri and Lucio Fontana are two of Italy's most influential artists of the 20th century. It's an interesting exhibit in a beautiful space. I loved the mingling of the bold, abstract pieces with the graceful, traditional surroundings.The Pallazo Valle underwent a dramatic renovation between 2004-2008. I also loved having Camille with us. She flitted back and forth between the windows overlooking the courtyard and the gallery spaces where she was drawn to the geometric designs and textures, especially the large slashes and holes that characterize their work. We kept our visit fairly short because that's what happens when you have a four year old companion, but plan on returning in the near future for a more detailed visit.

If you can't make it to the show, here's a partial on-line tour. But really, like most things, it is so much better in person because you can see the textures, the size, and the beautiful gallery space. Here are the details for those in the local area:

Pallazo Valle, Catania, Sicily
8 euro entrance fee, 5 euro for English audio guide.
Free on Tuesdays and Friday evening (5-7pm).
Closed on Mondays
The exhibit is scheduled to end on March 14th


February 2, 2010

We never got to see the Burri Fontana exhibit yesterday because the museum was closed, but luckily there was a fabulous photography exhibit directly across the street at the Palazza Del La Cultura. Fabrizio Villa is an amazing documentary photographer and his images of the St. Agatha festival are stunning. Images that make you gasp, smile, and stare in wonder. It got us pretty fired up for Friday night and also convinced me that the kids will be staying home with a sitter...enormous crowds, late night, lots of burning candles: probably not a good kid outing (at least not for our first experience of the festival). The exhibit is free and open until February 14th.

The other bonus of the exhibit is its' location. The Palazzo Del La Cultura
is a beautifully restored monastery in the heart of Catania (a block behind the Duomo) that is now an exhibition space/cultural events center. We visited the center a few months ago for a fabulous bug exhibit but there didn't seem to be any English speaking staff members so we weren't sure of the history or even the current uses of the building. In addition to the photo exhibit yesterday we had the good fortune of meeting one of their staff members. She was in the midst of restoring a very old, wooden crucifix and body of Christ. Actually it was kind of an eery discovery. Walking down a hall of arches I saw a woman in a white coat working over a body:I thought I was going to get in trouble for taking photographs, but instead we were escorted into her work space and handed an English explanation of the work in progress. Below is a pic of Christ's arm with a selection of beautiful pigments. It was a wonderful work space filled with light and an interesting assortment of tools. It turns out however that we didn't need the paper. Her English was excellent and in addition to talking about her current project, she also gave us a private tour of the current exhibits and even showed us a corner of the building with a staircase descending into a lower level of the monastery that was believed to be St. Agatha's home.

I love these kinds of days and they seem to happen frequently in Italy. Days when our original plans suddenly vanish and are replaced with adventures we never imagined possible. And we aren't the only ones with interesting Italian discoveries. Check out Blogging from the Boot which has a selection of ex-pat blog entries from 2009. I submitted a couple of mine and was honored to make it to the finalist stage. I didn't realize it was a voting sort of competition so I feel kind of awkward about that, but I have enjoyed reading the mix of experiences and perspective. Take a look. No pressure to vote, but wanted to pass it along.

Festive Preparations

February 1, 2010

A morning of delightful surprises in Catania. Adam and I headed into the city this morning hoping to see this exhibit, but before we even made it to the museum we were struck by all of the festive changes. The city is preparing for St. Agatha's Feast day which is later this week. Banners with large golden "A"s festooning balconies and doorways statues and posters of St. Agathaand this store which has the candles that will be carried in the nighttime processions. See the large yellow thing on the left side of above pic? That is one of the super large candles. It took three men (see pic below) to load one of the large candles into the waiting truck. Also, notice the white outfit on the mannequin behind them? That's the outfit that is worn by those participating in the procession. A simple white tunic with a black hat. Want to learn more about the festival, read Karen's description from In Etna's Shadow. We can't wait to witness it for ourselves later this week.

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