Children’s story written by Grazia Martienssen
Good day children, Flyer the seagull here, today let me tell you about:
Santo and Santina are cousins named after their Nonno (grandfather) Santo. They have been waiting a long time to celebrate their name day. Most of their friends, family and relatives have already celebrated theirs. Their friend Sebastian celebrated his in January. Their cousin Agata’s in February. Santo’s friend Giovanni has his in June, and Rosalia’s was in September. Others celebrate theirs on various dates throughout the year. The festivities usually include fireworks and carrying icons or statues from the saint’s church in procession. Some of their older cousins have been confirmed and celebrate their confirmation saint’s day as well.
What’s your name? Do you know if you are named after someone special?
All Saints and All Souls Day
Finally, it is the 1st of November and it’s Santo and Santin’s Onomastico. They celebrate with their Nonno Santo and all the saints. It is a public holiday. Those who do not have saints’ names celebrate with them as well. Nonno reads to them and teaches them more about the saints. They learn that their feast day started sometime in the year 609 AD (Anno Domino). This refers to the number of years after Jesus passed on. Originally it was celebrated in springtime, which is in March, April and May, but later it was changed to November (winter).
They remember the saints at mass in the Eucharist. After mass family and friends visit them and bring them gifts. Nonno gets a calendar for the following year with the saints for each month on it. It also shows the patron saints of each Town. Along with other gifts, the children get a book with big pictures and some writing on each page explaining about the saints.
Everybody wishes them ‘buon onnomastico’ (happy name day). The family and relatives all come around and have a special meal together on Nonno’s farm where they spend the day after mass. Mom makes some long homemade pasta called maccheroni for the 1st course. The second course is meat with sauce (carne al sugo). She also makes cannoli for dessert (a sweet treat). Their cousins in North Italy send photos of their day, they are eating risotto (a rice dish) and snacking on roasted chestnuts (In different parts of Italy, traditions and cultures change). They set an empty place at the table for those in heaven.
The next day is tutti i morti (all souls day).
They remember their family and relatives and friends who have gone to heaven. They go to the graves to bring flowers especially chrysanthemums (In Italy different flowers are used for different occasions). They clean the graves and spend time with those in heaven. They light candles to pay their respect to them. Their friends in Rome sent a video of their picnic at the graveside to share a meal with those in heaven. They talk to their Nonna, Bisnonno (great-grandfather), and other families in heaven. Santo and Santina miss their Nonna and Bisnonno very much, but they know they can talk to them and they will be listening from heaven, so they tell them everything. They tell them all about preschool, their friends, their new puppies, absolutely everything.
Do you know anyone in heaven? Do you visit them at the grave and bring flowers?
Do you talk to them?
Later in the day they finally look around the house for sweets and luxuries hidden by their loved ones from heaven. It is so much fun looking for special treats. They find them all over the house and enjoy them.
Which special treats and sweets do you like?