Thursday, March 20, 2008

Needing a Spring Break (Part 1)

Happy Party Week, everyone!! Is it just me…never mind, it probably IS just me – and maybe a few of my family members…but I'm thinking this week is just chock-full of fun-party-good-times!! Follow along with me, if you will…

Monday was St. Patrick's Day…and a wee bit o' the celebratin' was going on all over this grand nation – though not in Ireland, incidentally – but we all know that. This is an American holiday invented by Americans to get rid of the excess stores of green beer and corned beef that magically appear in storerooms sometime late February.

Tuesday we got a break – unless you count Hangover Recovery Day…shhhhhh….and pass me the aspirin…!

Wednesday was St. Joseph's Day. An Italian holiday celebrated on March 19th every year by lots of real Italians and my immediate family. It's a groovy holiday with a nice premise (see below), but I always feel a bit like the Jewish kid at a Catholic school near Christmastime when St. Joe's Day comes around. Everyone's all hopped up like a spider monkey on Mountain Dew about St. Paddy: wearing green, pinching people, faking a brogue, puking green beer…and I come around two days later wearing red – talking food - and I get looked at like I'm a foreign exchange student that missed the boat by about 48 hours. In my family, it's the first phone call of the day: "Happy St. Joseph's Day!! YAY!! What are you making for dinner??" and we all get into a long discussion about the 10,000 different possibilities we could make and it's a big deal and we love it! Even my sister's Confirmation name is Joseph – really! It is! Then I arrive at work. And all I hear is the cricket's chirp…nada…and I wish friends happy St. Joe's Day and they humor me - thanks, guys! But overall, St. Joe doesn't get nearly the hub-bub that his Irish heavenly roommate receives.

At this point I usually make a silly comment about St. Joe being the red-headed step-child in the family of holidays, but in this day 'n' age, if you only have ONE set of parents, you're the odd man out – you're the weird one – red-headed or no, so I leave that part out now.

Here's the premise of St. Joseph's Day: Because the humble but obedient Joe (Or Giuseppe as my mom knew him) was such a swell guy and took the unwed, yet expectant Mary into his home without fear of the neighbor wives gossiping, the Italians celebrate him on his feast day by opening their homes to anyone that passes by and offering them a meal or drink or rest. Anyone. Neighbor, beggar, priest, politician, friend or foe – we all emulate Giuseppe on that day and give respite to the passers-by. Pretty cool, huh? I always thought's nice to be nice. So if you're in the neighborhood next March 19, there's a fork waiting at my house with your name on it!

Enough good-deeding!! On to Thursday – today - the First Day of Spring!! YAY!! Celebrated by Celts and farmers for centuries. You know – rumor has it that you can stand an egg on end on the first day of Spring (the vernal equinox) and the first day of Fall (the autumnal equinox) – go ahead – give it a try! It'll drive you to drink more than you did on Monday (then wish it was Tuesday again!).

And now we move from super-pagan to super- religious. Tomorrow is Good Friday. Not necessarily a day to party – unless you're a hardcore Jesus fan. But even then it's partying on the inside. When I was a kid, no Good Friday was complete without a few (or 14) Stations of The Cross – yipeee!! Now THERE'S a fun way to spend three hours! I was never in my life so happy for 3:00 to roll around as I was on Good Fridays. The bonus? Friday means fish fry - and if you grew up in the Eastern side of the U.S., you know what I mean...oh yeah....underneath all the yummy, crispy, greasy, tartar saucy goodness a fish gave his life to be your supper. Good for him. Better for you! And yes! Yes, I will be having fries with that! And a beer, thank you! (shhhhh.....! this is called a "lenten sacrifice" - don't tell anyone how much of a sacrifice this isn't!!)

Saturday…ahhh…Take a Breather Day…relax – color some eggs (you know, the one that wouldn't stand on its end on Thursday) – buy a ham…get ready for...(drum roll please)...


danielletbd said...

I grew up with an Italian Catholic father, and I've never heard of Saint Joseph's Day. Me thinks me missed out.

Dee Murray said...

I was reading in Saveur magazine last night that apparently this is a Sicilian holiday more than "Italian" one - my grandpa was Sicilian - I guess it makes sense that we grew up was a really nice thing we always did!