Tag Archives: Sicilian American traditions

SHORT FILM: BEST PASTA-MAKING DAY EVER!

The film is password protected. If you would like to see Saint Joseph Pasta-Making Day, please contact kimsmith.designs1@gmail.com.

Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph: A Community Film Project
Part Two: La Famiglia
Saint Joseph Pasta-Making Day

When late winter snow melts while March winds blow blustery, Gloucester’s Sicilian American community begins to prepare for the annual novena and feast celebration in honor of Saint Joseph, the father of Jesus, husband of Mary, and many consider, the patron saint of Sicily.

The fishing port of Gloucester has a long history of welcoming immigrants. Around the turn of the previous century four million Italians immigrated to the United States. Little Italys sprang up all over the country and within these communities today, Sicilian traditions continue to be celebrated.

True heroes of the festa are the parents, nonnas, nonnos, aunts, and uncles who each year open their homes and hearts to the community. They grew up with a deep sense of security provided by la famiglia and are devoted to keeping these traditions alive for the children of the next generation.

Each year at the home of Nina and Franco Groppo a troupe of family and friends gather to make pasta for Saint Joseph’s feast. The pasta complements a traditional sauce made of fava beans and cauliflower. Legend has it that the during the great famine of the Middle Ages, prayers to Saint Joseph—and the lucky fava bean—saved the Sicilians from starvation.

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CAFFE SICILIA’S LAMBS OF EASTER

Maria Cracchiolo Lamb of Easter Pecorella di Pasqua Gloucester -3 2016 Kim SmithPecorelle di Pasqua are a traditional Sicilian Easter treat although, when Easter falls very close to Saint Joseph’s Day as it did this year, Maria shared that the Lambs of Easter are often found on Saint Joseph altars. Maria’s are so charming I am planning to purchase several to Not eat but to decorate our Easter table. They are very reasonably priced, especially considering all the work that is involved with making and how expensive is the marzapane.

Maria Cracchiolo Lamb of Easter Pecorella di Pasqua Gloucester -4 2016 Kim Smith

Each lamb is molded from almond dough and after drying, skillfully hand painted by Maria. I popped into Caffe Sicilia Wednesday morning to say hello and happily caught Maria just as she was beginning to paint and decorate the Easter lambs. We filmed her working with my movie camera for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project and here is a glimpse with iPhone photos and Instagrams.

Maria Cracchiolo Lamb of Easter Pecorella di Pasqua Gloucester -2 2016 Kim Smith

With thanks, appreciation, and the deepest gratitude to Maria Cracchiolo and her parents Nina and Domenic Damico for their continued help with Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. From the project’s onset, they have opened their kitchen doors and very generously shared Sicilian traditions and baking techniques. We are so very fortunate to have Maria, her family, and Caffe Sicilia in our Gloucester Community. With thanks again to Mayor Sefatia for suggesting we knock on Maria’s door!

Happy Spring! Happy Easter!

Maria Cracchiolo Lamb of Easter Pecorella di Pasqua Gloucester 2016 Kim Smith

VIVA SAN GIUSEPPE

A home full of friends and family at the always welcoming Groppo Saint Joseph Novena

Groppo Novena 2016 Gloucester Saint Joseph - Kim Smith

Groppo Novena Saint joseph altar 2016 Gloucester Saint Joseph - Kim SmithThe elegant hand embroidery cutwork tablecloth was made especially for Nina’s altar. The flowers each year are organized and arranged by Jane Harper Beddus.

CELEBRATING SAINT JOSEPH NOVENA WITH THE GROPPO FAMILY

Nina and Frank Groppo Saint Joseph Feast ©Kim Smith 2014 -2This year the Groppo’s are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Saint Joseph honoring Nina’ s mother, Di Gaetano Vincenza. Tomorrow night, Thursday, the nine day novena begins and all are most sincerely welcome at the home of Nina and Frank Groppo.

Groppo Family Feast of Saint Joseph -7 © Kim Smith 2014JSaturday is Saint Joseph pasta-making day at the Groppo’s and it is the most fun, with everyone lending a hand, from the oldest granny to the youngest child.

Gloucester's Feast of Saint Joseph pasta making -2 kim smith designs.com 2016

Gloucester's Feast of Saint Joseph pasta making kim smith designs.com 2016

Flowers feast of saint Joseph altar kim smith designs.com

Jane Harper Beddus Feast of Saint Joseph kim smith designs.com 2016Jane Harper Beddus, the ‘flower lady’ arranging this year’s altar flowers

saint-joseph-bread-caffe-sicilia-c2a9-kim-smith-2014- (1)

Caffe Sicilia’s Maria Cracchiolo is returning from vacation on Saturday and special orders for her beautiful bread can be placed then. You can see a demonstration of how she expertly shapes the Saint Joseph altar bread here.

New Film: Viva San Pietro!

Thank you to our beautiful Gloucester community for participating in Viva San Pietro! Thank you to the Greasy Pole Walkers for interviews given during the Sunday rally and especially to Nicky Avelis for help coordinating. A huge thanks to Joe DaSilva for the suggestion to listen to Mike Forgette’s music for the film’s soundtrack and for help in contacting Mike. A tremendous thank you goes to Mike Forgette for granting permission to use his song “Whats the Difference” (link to hear more of Mike Forgette Music).

Viva San Pietro! opens with Joe Novello preparing Gloucester’s Saint Peter’s Square for the formal opening ceremony, to which he is also the master of ceremonies. Highlights from Friday afternoon’s sporting events are followed by the procession of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, around the American Legion Building (Gloucester’s first City Hall), with the parade ending in a fanfare of confetti and cheers. Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan takes to the stage and provides some history about the origins of the Fiesta. Senator Tarr and all officials give praise to the committee for their tireless dedication. Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante and City Councilor Steven LeBlanc rally the crowd with the traditional call and response that is heard throughout the city in the coming days, and Father Jim Achadinha gives his blessing.

Saturday’s Greasy Pole competition is featured with highlights from Joe DaSilva’s winning walk. Due to foul weather, Sunday’s events take place on Monday. The Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers in their zany and colorful costumes tell of past walks and wins at the rally held at the home of Sunday Walker Joe Sanfillipo. After processing through downtown with stops along the way at the Gloucester House Restaurant, House of Mitch, and Saint Peter’s Club, the Walkers head over to Beach Court. Because Sunday’s events had been postponed to Monday and the stage broken down on schedule, the statue of Saint Peter was temporarily moved to Beach Court. After blessings and prayers, the revelers headed back to Saint Peter’s Square to board the ferry to the Greasy Pole.

The men’s seine boat competition does not disappoint, with Lock and Load taking the trophy, followed by an outstanding flag capture by Jake Wagner.

The Walkers hoist Jake upon their shoulders and carry him to the Greasy Pole Hall of Fame Wall. Then it’s back to Beach Court where the closing ceremony is held. Congratulatory speeches are given by the team captains, with much cheering and accolades for all. After the award ceremony, the statue of Saint Peter is processed through the Fort amidst much merriment, joyful singing, and “Me chi samiou tutti mutti? Viva San Pietro!,” which roughly translated means: Are you all mute? (or Why are you not shouting?)—long live Saint Peter!

You’ll see all three Greasy Pole winners Joe DaSilva, Lenny Taormina, and Jake Wagner, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan, House Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, State Senator Bruce Tarr, Sunday Greasy Pole Walker and City Councilor Steven LeBlanc, Peter Black Frontiero, Nicky Avelis, Joe Sanfilippo, Paul Nicastro, Kyle Barry, Mark Allen, Crazy Hat Ladies, sisters Robyn and Amy Clayton, and many, many more. Viva San Pietro!

New Film: Joe Virgilio Makes Saint Joseph Rolls

Joe Virgilio Makes Saint Joseph Rolls is a wonderful addition to Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. So many thanks to Joe for taking time from his busy work day to allow filming! Highlights include Joe sharing stories about the early days working alongside his grandfather  and cousins, when the thousands of rolls needed were all made by hand.

Filming for the Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project is continuing through Saint Joseph’s Day of this year. My deepest thanks and appreciation to our community for their ongoing support of the Feast of Saint joseph Community Film Project.