Margie's Story Time: New Years!
Margie's Story Time: New Years!
By Me, Margie with no help from anyone even though certain cousins promised to stop over and help write this but apparently are still recovering from the seven fishes because some stunad decided to pair a different drink with each one and certain other idiotas followed suit. Stick with me I know better. Just Saying.
Once upon a time, someone was inventing a calendar, and they picked names for months and numbers for dates. It was pretty much based on the moon, as dictated by a monarch, which means half the time it makes no damn sense and the other half all you have to do is check the night sky to know what time of the month it is. You can also check the volume of chocolate covered pretzels eaten by certain Aunts, but that is a different kind of story, isn't it?
So back in the old country, where the Julian calendar was mandated (heh - that is a good word for a laugh but it really means some king shoved it down the throats and/or up the asses of the regular people whether they liked it or not, but can also mean Rocco's holiday plans. Hi Rocco and thanks for not helping) the ancestors of the brothers Hallmarkelloni and the sisters at Orientali Tradingina got together to bitch about how to drum up business, and holidays were born.
Okay, I know what you are thinking - "Hey You, Margie - what were you, born in a barn? Who do you think set up all those days where you have to go to church/make certain foods/have parades/raise money to build statues and go to church?" Duh. Like I don't know about the holy days and the Feasts. (If you don't know what a Feast is, listen up - it's a tribute day for Saints. Sure, you can make a pilgrimage to the town of their birth, but what they really want is old school tribute which means a statue of them, a parade named for them, or both.)
I mean, the only ones who really made out on the Feast Days were the church and the people who sold the food and the holy tchotchkes. No offense to the Vatican kiosks, but most of that stuff looks like crap. No offense x 2, and I am genuflecting just in case because I am not stupid and I like to plan for all contingencies, which, for some of my cousins who don't read much, means 'be ready for whatever shit is around the corner because you have no clue what it might be, unless its the Benadetti boys, in which case you know exactly what it is. And Rita says you're welcome.' (Yeah, Rita, that just happened. Maybe next time you'll help.)
Well, then the Zambellini family - who started making fireworks back when it was just black powder and fire, and not one of those kids has a full set of fingers to this day - because that is intelligent design at work - said 'Hey, we want a piece of this calendar vig too'. No one said no to them because of all the fingers lost, no one ever lost their trigger finger and talk about unplanned 'accidents' and timely 'fires' ? Please, those people knew from staging.
And so December 31 was designated not only as the last day of the calendar year, but also a day to set off fireworks and send cards and buy jimcrack that had the current year on it so it was only useful for about ten hours, and then you had to buy all new stuff. These people? Genius. I get a little choked up because I am just so damn proud of my heritage. sniff.
Well, as you can imagine, it just rolled on like a tidal wave from there. One year, the Porkarino family had a major livestock boom, and suddenly everyone had to make a pork dish or risk a whole year of bad luck. And the Lentilano family accidentally planted all lentils and nothing else, so lentils became the official food of hoping for wealth/coins/whatever and everyone had to eat them on New Years or face personal and professional bankruptcy before the Feast of the Epiphany. See, Connie Lentilano married Vinny Zambellini and the two families formed an alliance, so if you offended one, you offended the other and you don't have to be Michael Corleone to figure that one out.
Finally, there was a family that bought way too much red silk from China because a certain merchant cousin who was supposed to go over there and get lots of cool stuff spent his whole time getting to know a certain house of women and he had to buy whatever was out on the road that day when he sprinted for the last boat out before St. Rocco's day, because everyone knew if you wanted any shot at the black Friday shoppers, you had to start back by then.
When this stunad got back to Sicily, his cugina Maria met him at the dock, took one look and - in the way of so many of my motherline - came up with a genius idea. And that is why everyone has to wear red underwear on New Years. Because it is a seriously major tradition and if you don't, the shores will run red with the blood of your family because Maria Mancini married the oldest Zambellini son (a total stud who was only missing his pinky finger so who cares) and that was that.
So - get ready for new years. Order the pork and lentils. Find a fireworks show. And for the sake of all humankind, wear red underwear. Because it's my family's tradition, plus it is totally hot. And everyone wants to start their new year off with a bang. Just saying.
The end, and you should totally be writing this stuff down.
Felice Anno Nuovo to all, and to all a really, really good night.