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Christmas: a Magical Tradition

Even if the world is subject to change, without us even being aware, we in subsequence also change our symbols within our own interior world. However, the echo of well instated traditions and the sense of the divine, accompany us as they have always accompanied the Christmas period and with much difficulty, will they ever leave us. It is impossible to think of escaping the potent call of Christmas with its enchantments of “past times rediscovered” which bring us back magically to our childhood.

The wonderful period, most desired in our existence, in which above all we are not aware of the dimension of suffering, whilst to the contrary we are a ware of joy

Christmas is like this, from time through to time, manifestations and memories of our innocence and of our time without cares or worries, returning to the time when things were not really important, when one did not have to fight in the daily rat race and attempt to resolve our difficulties, putting at the same time our nerves to the test, as well as, our frail existence.

So, it is wondefful to be reborn and become once again children, even if, it is only for a limited space of time. Don’t you think that this humane intenseness could mean the Birth of Baby Jesus? Above all, as Christians the celebration of the extraordinary event which indicates the coming (advent) of a new world and of a regenerated humanity by the bond of love, of fraternity of solidarity? So, here we are with Christmas, with lights, sounds, colours and carols. The illuminations which make the air merry, the Christmas carols of young choirs, all this underlines this particular aspect of Christmas, in which we find fixed in the crib scene, a message with its eternal meaning beyond all time. In the churches, in the houses are created crib scenes of different styles and dymensions.

They can be simple with just a few statuettes of simple terracotta or of compressed paper, to those more complexed with elaborate scenes, reproducing ancient corners of cities, authentic works of art with shepherds dressed in damask and brocade, real treasures of the 17th and 18th centuries of the neapolitan capital city. Created in cork or with the use of bronze wires, as a structure, on which paper is glued and painted.

Made with great simplicity or with artistic learned knowledge, the crib scenes are intent in presenting, always in the foremost, the scene of the Nativity with Mary and Joseph, who watch over the Baby Jesus who lies in a manger, in a cold stable, warmed only by the presence of the ox and the ass. If it is true, the saying “Christmas with you own (your family)….”

The Festival of Christmas is also a unique occasion in which the family really comes into being, in the old fashioned sense.

One is aware of a particular sentiment when everyone is sitting around the table: parents, brothers and sisters, grandchildren, relatives around the festive table together, they will do everything to prolong the duration of the meal, which short as a dream, will soon disappear. So one attempts to prolong the time playing the traditional tombola (bingo, only played during Christmas tide) munching some typical Christmas sweet meats and taking from baskets dried fruit and nuts. One is almost afraid to rise from the table, in order not to lose the magical feeling of refound treasured times, in other words returning to the past.

The table one couldsay, is almost the emblem of Christmas, which will always be rich and full of every good thing that God has given us, in spite of and everywhere, in ordert o shake off any eventual ghost of ancient misery and poverty.

The food of Christmas and New Year, present typical meals of tradition in which often there is an invasion of modern dishes, which ruin the poetry of a tradition and acts as an insult betraying the old familiar tastes which are all part of the miracle, which is Christmas.

Antonino Fiorentino

[Photo Credits]


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