By Melissa Cannavo-Marino with an assist from Sara
It’s Monday morning, there’s still a slight chill in the air and I am happy to be able to just lay around while mamma is at school and nonna and nonno are at work. When they come home they start packing suitcases. Cosa succede (coe-za sue-chay-day) what’s going on? I hear nonna tell mamma that they can’t wait to finally get to celebrate Carnevale in Sicily. Il tempo (eel temp-o) the weather in Sicily is warm and it will be nice to leave the chilly temperatures behind in Frosinone. Domani celebriamo Carnevale con i nostri parenti in Sicilia (Doe-ma-knee chel-a-bree-amo car-nay-val-a cone e no-stree pa-rent-ee)
tomorrow we will celebrate Carnevale with our relatives in Sicily Non posso aspettare (non po-so as-pet-are-a) I can’t wait! When we get up, nonno is already in the kitchen making zeppole (zep-o-lay). These are a Carnevale tradition of yummy fried dough cooked in oil and then rolled in sugar, Carnevale or Martedì Grasso (mar-te-dee gras-o) is associated with different desserts which are fried in fat or oil. I wait patiently for un pezzo (oon pez-zo) a piece of zeppole while nonno explains tomorrow will be the beginning of la Quaresima (la kwar esse ma) Lent. During the Quaresima season many Roman Catholics give up their favorite food or activity. Ma per oggi festeggiamo! (ma pair o-gee fest-a ja-mo) But today let’s celebrate!
After breakfast we get ready to go. As we get closer to the center of town, the children are all dressed in costumi (cose too-me) costumes like during Halloween in the U.S.! Children and adults are spraying silly string everywhere! The air is filled with coriandoli (core-e end oley) confetti. Big floats with giant characters parade in Piazza Manganelli! People are playing scherzi (scer-zee) practical jokes on each other!
I ask Mamma why there are no rides and she explains that Carnevale in Italy is not like a carnival with rides like the ones that are molto populare (mol-toe pope-you-lar a) very popular in America. People just do lots of fun crazy things, so they can prepare to respect the holiness of la Quaresima. Mamma reminds me tomorrow will be mercoledì delle ceneri (mare coe le-dee del-lay chain-air-e) Ash Wednesday when la Quaresima begins. Nonno suggests that I give up my palla (pa-la) ball for la Quaresima but Mamma tells him not to be ridicolo (ree dee coe-low) ridiculous.
Then it’s off to the pastry shop for some last minute sweets! Except for Carnevale zeppole, the 100 percent Italian specialty found in almost every region, Mamma tells me that in each region of Italy there are different kinds of pastries that are made especially for Carnevale.
Devo andare (day-vo an dar-a) I have to go. It’s time to sit on a bench and share a sweet with Mamma! Ciao amici!