As I sit here and watch another new Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel, I am again, thrust into thinking about the guys… I am not sure what it is, but almost every Hallmark movie has me thinking about the guys. Perhaps it is because they seem to epitomize the same message that the Hallmark movies try to convey at this time of the year. This particular movie was about this lady in marketing that was often giving ideas to her boss and he took them as his own. Finally, she got brave enough and told the president that they were really her ideas. This last particular idea of hers was called “Christmas 365” – a marketing campaign for this particular client to spread the “holiday cheer” throughout the year and not just during the Christmas/holiday season.
So, as I sat watching this movie and feeling the warm tears spill over my cheeks at the end, as usual; I got to thinking that isn’t this what our Flight Crew site kind of does – come inside and “Share the Love?” All through the year, we post things about the guys doing things of charity. We post things that will cheer up someone that is not feeling well. Each day, we boost each others’ spirits with various pictures or by the comments we make from the posts.
Il Volo is just a beautiful example of spreading the warmth, joy, and happiness we all feel at Christmas and the whole year through. Do they realize they keep us going day to day and month to month? Every few days there is always something from them… a new story, a new project, hints of a new song or album, tour dates, or a new picture on their Twitter and Instagram accounts?
The classic editorial article of “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,”also reminds me of them. This editorial was written by Francis P. Church, way back in 1897. I believe most are familiar with this answer, but I don’t believe I had ever really read it before now. He states some very beautiful things in his answer, that reminds me of the guys. There is one particular paragraph, and I quote, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.” As I read this I thought, could we not replace Santa Claus with Il Volo? How many of us would have such a dreary life, no awesome poetry written by the poetesses on this site, and no romance, whether real or imagined?
Il Volo are our Santa Claus, that is for sure! Do they not give of themselves to us each and every day of the year in some small way? And like Santa Claus, even if we have never had the chance to see them or touch them, we know they exist in our hearts, souls, minds, and dreams. And to us, we know they are real!
As Ilvolovers, we also spread their joy to others in promoting their music and having parties with all of our new friends we never knew 7 years ago!
In quoting his final paragraph to Virginia,“No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.” We can only hope that Il Volo will also carry on this enigma that is“3 Voices, 1 Soul” a thousand years from now and beyond, gladdening the hearts and souls of children from 1 to 102 – to quote another song….
So, yes, to all the Virginias out there, and everyone else as well –
there is a Santa Claus and ours is called Il Volo!
p.s. this passage is dedicated to my dear, friend, Virginia! 🙂
Ready to jump into a world of old and new traditions? Here’s how Italians celebrate Christmasall over Italy!
You can find bigger Christmas trees and more extravagant decorations in the United States, but nothing looks, tastes, feels or sounds like la stagione natalizia (Christmas season) in Italy. With roots in the “Saturnalia,” the winter solstice rites of ancient Rome, and Christian commemorations of the birth of Gesù Bambino (Baby Jesus), the Italian holidays blend religious and pagan festivities that light up the darkest of nights.
In Rome and southern Italy, the traditional sound of Christmas is the music of bagpipes and flutes played by shepherds from the region of Abruzzo. According to legend, shepherds entertained the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem with their simple instruments. In the past zampognari (bagpipe players), wearing shaggy sheepskin vests, felt hats and crisscrossed leather leggings,
came to Rome weeks before Christmas to play in churches. These days the shepherds arrive later and play their ancient instruments in front of the elegant stores along the Via Condotti and other shopping streets near the Spanish Steps.
Festivities such as fairs and torchlight processions begin weeks before and continue weeks after December 25. Here are the key dates to keep in mind:
December 6: La festa di San Nicola, the feast of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of shepherds
December 8: La festa dell’Immacolata, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic holy day honoring Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus.
December 12: La festa di Santa Lucia, the festival of lights encircled
December 24: La vigilia di Natale, the vigil of Christmas or Christmas eve
December 25: Natale, which literally translates as “birthday”
December 26: La festa di Santo Stefano, Saint Stephen’s day
December 31: La festa di San Silvestro, Saint Sylvester’s day, or New Year’s Eve (la vigilia di Capodanno)
January 1: Il Capodanno, literally the top of the year
January 6: L’Epifania, Epiphany, which marks the arrival of the Magi, the three wise men, who brought gifts to the infant Jesus from afar.
The Tastes of Christmas
When I ask Italians what they do most during the Christmas holidays, they say, “Mangiamo” (we eat) — very often and very well, with a huge feast on Christmas Eve, il pranzo di Natale at mid-day on Christmas, and il cenone di Capodanno, another elaborate dinner on New Year’s Eve. In some regions the Christmas feasts must have seven courses (for the seven sacraments); others serve nine (the Holy Trinity times three) or thirteen (for Jesus and his twelve disciples).
The centerpiece of the Christmas Eve dinner is a specific kind of eel called capitone, a favorite of the ancient Romans that appears in the earliest known cookbook, written by a gourmand known as Apicius. This symbol of life and immortality was traditionally sold alive and wiggling, then beheaded, chopped and dropped into boiling water, spit-roasted, grilled, stewed with white wine and peas, or pickled in vinegar, oil, bay leaves, rosemary and cloves.
The Christmas day feast usually starts with a rich pasta, such as cappelletti in brodo, little hats stuffed with chopped meats, cheese or pumpkin. By tradition everyone is supposed to eat at least a dozen. Depending on the region of Italy, the main course may be capon, pork or turkey.
Everyone saves room for the special dolci (sweets) and breads of Christmas. These include:
*cartellate — curly ribbons of dough that symbolize the sheets on which baby Jesus lay
*calzoncelli — the pillows for his head
*latte di mandorla — Virgin’s milk
*calzone di San Leonardo — shoes of St. Leonard, which represent the cradle *pangiallo — round breads crammed with fruits and nuts (an ancient symbol of fertility)
*panpepato — peppery and dark bread, somewhat like gingerbread
*panettone — cake filled with candied fruit, raisins, hazelnuts, honey and almonds.
*pandoro — sweet yeast bread, usually dusted with vanilla-scented icing sugar.
The presepio (Christmas crèche) dates back to 1223. Saint Francis, the charismatic friar of Umbria, wanted to bring to life the story of Jesus’s birth. In the little town of Greccio, he placed a manger in some straw and added a living Mary, Joseph, Jesus, shepherds — and actual cattle, sheep and donkeys (who, the story goes, once warmed the infant with their breath).
You can find presepi, including presepi viventi (living crèches) ranging from simple to stunning, in churches throughout Italy. Some scenes include grottoes, trees, lakes, rivers, angels suspended by wires and reproductions of an entire village or part of a town. Naples is most famous for its presepi, with hundreds of nativity scenes, including many with handmade or antique figures, set up throughout the city. Throughout the year artisans in central Naples create clay figures that are shipped all over the world for Christmas crèches.
In some parts of Italy, families construct a tree of light, a pyramid-shaped wooden frame several feet high with tiers of shelves decorated with colored banners and gilt pinecones. Often a manger scene occupies the bottom shelf, with fruit, candy and presents above, small candles fastened to the slanted sides and a star or small doll hung at the top. In Sicily, families make beautiful little altars, hung with green leaves and encircled by oranges, lemons, polished apples, pears, chestnuts, figs and colored eggs.
Another tradition dates back to pagan rituals that attempted to bring back the heat and light of the sun: the Yule log, which burns during the last 12 nights of the year. It always remains lit when the family goes to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve because of the legend that Mary stops by to warm her newborn child before the blazing fire.
Buon Natale e felice Anno Nuovo — Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
I migliori auguri di buone feste — Best wishes a happy Holiday Season
I più cari auguri per un sereno Natale e per un anno nuovo ricco di soddisfazioni — Dearest wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a fulfilling new year
Affettuosissimi auguri per un felice Natale — Most affectionate wishes for a happy Christmas
I migliori auguri per il Santo Natale e per il 2017 — Best wishes for Holy Christmas and for 2017