(photographs by Ernie Morin)
Italians have two principal verbs for walking. “Camminare” means simply getting about on foot, while “passeggiare” has the more formal connotation of taking a stroll. As a noun “passeggiata” also means promenade, as of an evening’s stroll along the boulevard or in the populous square of a Sicilian town. Since the advent of the automobile, “passeggiare” can also mean going for a drive.
I’m reminded of these words at St. Peter’s Fiesta as I watch the strolling crowds of children and their parents--brightly dressed teens, kids on scooters, even skateboarders--converging on the square that has been home for 80 years to
La Festa di San Pietro is many things. It pays homage to the patron saint of
One doesn’t have to travel to
That is why I love the idea of Fiesta. As long as there is an Italian community to celebrate it and fishermen to be honored,
Fiesta is rite and ritual, it is games of strength and skill. It’s a giant block party and mating dance as young people from all over the city meet and mingle. But Fiesta is also
Fiesta has changed over the years. Some natives lament the midway atmosphere, which appears now to overshadow the religious dimension of the celebration. But part of every spiritual ritual, like Mardi gras, involves both worship and release. What’s important is that after 80 years we still have Fiesta and that it draws the community to our one big public square. Here, under the watchful eyes of St. Peter, we recommit ourselves to the sacredness of