Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Christmas in Sicily

We spent Christmas with Vincenzo's family in Enna, a mountain top city in the center of Sicily. Vincenzo's parents live at the base of the mountain in a newer section of the city with his two married sisters close by. The week in Sicily started with a birthday dinner for Vincenzo's mom, a big Christmas eve dinner and two big meals on Christmas.

On Christmas Day we went to Mass at Vincenzo's childhood parish of St. John the Baptist in the center of the old city. There was an unusual shrine in the church. Is it the "Holy Belly?"

After dinner on Christmas night we wandered around some of the narrow twisting medieval streets of Enna to look at nativity scenes that people had set up in their homes. Signs directed our journey and we found home made representations of Christ's birth in windows, living rooms, garages and even one in an old TV set. The night was cold and damp as people walked from home to home admiring the handiwork of neighbors, We say dozens and dozens of these "precepi." They ranged in size from inside a walnut shell to life size. One man, a Mr. D'Italia, had his figures of the Holy Family (and accompanying shepherds, sheep and townspeople) on his sofa. He also offered us sweet biscuits to eat.

At Christmas in the main piazza of Enna there were some interesting trees made out of flowering cyclamen plants.

Note: Babba Natale usually "climbs" into homes throughout Italy. Here he is going into homes in old Enna and the newer part of Enna.


Willym said...

Okay now you've explained the climbing Santa's. Laurent wanted to get one and I vetoed the idea. And I love that shrine but from the angle it looked more like a pair of lips.

Loved the Presepi photos.

Anonymous said...

I want to visit Sicily now with Vincenzo. He could give tours as a second career.

juanita said...

Santa climbing up .... sounds far safer from the lungs than descending down a chimney.