Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lanternata di San Martino

"San Martino"  di Giosuè Carducci.
La nebbia a gl'irti colli
Piovigginando sale,
E sotto il maestrale
Urla e biancheggia il mar;
Ma per le vie del borgo
Dal ribollir de' tini
Va l'aspro odor de i vini
L'anime a rallegrar.
Gira su' ceppi accesi
Lo spiedo scoppiettando:
Sta il cacciator fischiando
Su l'uscio a rimirar

Tra le rossastre nubi
Stormi d'uccelli neri,
Com'esuli pensieri,
Nel vespero migrar. »
Tonight we are off to parade through the streets of our Lugano neighbourhood accompanying our kids with their home-made lanterns in honour of San Martino.
In the olden days, this Saint was remembered on November 11th, when work in the fields was mostly finished: the fruit had been harvested, stocks of food for the winter had been piled up and the next planting season had been prepared.  
Times have changed, but the “lanternata” of San Martino is still a date not to be missed, a contagiously happy atmosphere when kids carve a beet (large turnip), put a candle in it and carry it around town with all the other kids and parents of the neighbourhood.
We call this “lanternata”, an old tradition in order to give thanks after the last harvest of those beets. 
We carve the beets (not quite like jack-o-lanterns), we hollow them out, except we leave less thick walls. The design is not carved all the way through, but is only cut out of the coloured skin and so the light shines through brightly. 
After a 30minute walk around the neighbourhood all the kids get a hot dog and punch in the “Piazza”  (Center square) which allows everybody to have a very cheerful walk home and happily give thanks for the nightly hike with friends and lanterns!

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