Sunday, May 18, 2008

Primu diu e Sammastianu

For all our angst about the relationship between Middletown residents and Wesleyan students, I think the St. Sebastian celebration is proof that the two can come together under the least likely circumstances.

At the festival this weekend, which is just around the corner from my house, I bumped into Wesleyan students I know, with whom I discussed the Fountain Ave. melee, and the reaction to it. I also talked with the mayor, a few town council members, neighbors, and several staff members from Wes. The views were divergent, but it all happened at St. Sebby's feast.

The nuri today was particularly fun. A group of us gathered in front of the Masselli's house. as the supplicants marched down Main Street, then ran up part of Washington, all the while chanting for the patron saint of the Church. BTW, along with every other local dignitary, Wesleyan president Michael Roth made the march in a red tie. After the supplicants retrieved St. Sebby's icon, they marched a new route which brought them down Main Street, and up Washington again.

A few of us discussed how this annual tradition is likely a holdover from some medieval European re-enactment which, while practiced regularly in the old country, is a rarity here, though not recognized as such.

After the sanctified festivities, the line at the fried dough booth was never less then thirty people for the next two hours. Later, a wonderful auction of homemade Italian food made my mouth water as I was planting annuals.

Right now, the carnival is quieting down as the last stragglers grab some sausage and peppers, and the rides make their last spin. And it's one more version of that popular song about "baccala" and the 67th version of "That's Amore." I'll know it's over when I hear the last verse of "New York, New York."

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