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Gina’s Italy

Children’s story was written by Grazia Martienssen

Good day children, Flyer the seagull here, let me tell you about:

Ginas Italy:

Gina lives in Messina, on the Italian island of Sicily. Today she’s very excited because it’s the 2nd of June, and there’s no school today because it’s Italy’s national day (La Festa della Repubblica). Her teacher recently taught the class all about its meaning through poetry. She learned that Italy used to be a monarchy, which means they had a king and a queen and became a republic in 1946. That was also the year that her bis nonna (great granny) was born! This was also a very important year for women because they voted for the first time that year.

Did you know Italy is shaped like a boot?
Do you know that Sicily is at the bottom of Italy?
Do you know what an island is?

The Festivities:

Gina’s dad’s office is also closed today. Her zia (aunt) works half day and joins them later with her cousin Vito. Zia and mamma prepare food using the colours of the Italian flag.

Do you know which colours are in the Italian flag?
(Green, white and red).

Gina’s learning to make food from these colours and helps with making the Caprese salad, which is made from fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and yes, you guessed it, fresh mozzarella cheese.
Dad gets the Italian flags and musical instruments ready because they going to play at the street parades. He always makes sure they are super clean and polished. Gina and Vito dress up in the national Italian costumes that bis nonna and nonna made for them. The adults teach them short poems, telling the story of Italy. It’s really fun reciting poems with the family. Gina and Vito also fly little flags as they recite the poems

Do you know any special poems?
Later at the carnival, the children all have little flags, and join in the festivities singing Italian national songs. They join their older cousins in playing music and dancing. Gina’s uncle flies one of the nine planes that let out smoke in the Italian colours. They enjoy the street parades and take part in all the concerts. Everyone claps at their performance. Then they all go to a piazza (public square) from where they watch the president of the republic place a ceremonial wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Rome, at the Altare della patria (The altar of the fatherland). After that a military parade goes out. It really is spectacular. The colosseum is decorated with the Italian flag and lights up in the colours of the flag at night. The grandest festivities are held in Rome.

Have you ever been to Rome?
Gina’s best friend Rosa recently moved to Rome, and Gina wishes next year they can go there to take part in the festivities, because they are very grand in comparison to Messina. Later they all go to the beach for a picnic. The children run around saying the different poems such as;

White alps, green hills, red for bravery
1946 was the year Italy had victory
Woman voted no one stopped them
Italy was free.

They had been taught this and other poems to learn about Italy’s history.
Did you know that Rome is the capital of Italy?
Do you know anyone who lives in Italy?

The meaning of the colours:

Granny and great granny teach the children poems about the colours of the flag having religious meaning. Green stands for hope, white for faith and red for charity, but their older cousins tell them that is outdated. Green stands for the hills and plains, white for the snowy Alps and other mountain regions, and red for the wars of independence.

Do you know the colours of your country’s flag?
Do you know what they represent?