A SICILIAN PROVERB TO KEEP IN MIND: ‘A SQUAGLIATA DA NIVI SI VIDUNU I PURTUSA’ (WHEN SNOW MELTS, POTHOLES WILL APPEAR)

After a heavy snowfall, the snow-covered roads look beautiful, soft, and smooth, but when snow melts, potholes appear.

Obviously, the snow-covered road is a metaphor. What the proverb means is that when the veil of illusion covering your real being is removed, you will show your real nature and shortcomings.

A friend of mine once told me that he was going to get married to a girl he had come across through a dating site.

“Do you know her?” I asked him.

“I have never met her,” he replied, “but I’ve seen her picture on the computer and I’ve been chatting with her for a year. She is very beautiful and smart!”

A few months later, I met him again. He was a bit depressed, for the engagement had fallen apart. In fact, when he met the girl face to face, she was not beautiful at all. Her photo on the dating site was just a bait.

The moral of the story? We had better be straightforward and show ourselves as we are, otherwise ‘A squagliata da nivi si vidunu I purtusa! (When snow melts, potholes will appear!)

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SNOW IN ENNA (SICILY) GREETS LUNAR NEW YEAR

I consider myself a citizen of the world, beyond creeds, fixed ideas, and religions. I dare say that I accept all religions, as Alexander the Great did. Whenever he conquered a new country, he paid homage to the local gods and even made sacrifices to them.

Having this forma mentis, I celebrate New Year’s Day twice: once according to the solar calendar and once according to the lunar calendar. Lunar New Year falls on January 22, this year.

We had a tasty lunch, and then we watched the snow falling in Enna. Soon, a white mantle enveloped the city.

It was amazing to see the snow-covered streets and the white roofs. It does not happen often in Enna, in these days of global warming.

The white color of the snow is a symbol of candor and purification. I love snow!

I hope the New Year will bring into the world the candor, innocence, and peace it has been missing for a long time!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

LUNAR AND SOLAR CALENDARS

In the infinite universe, there is no time, no beginning and no end. It is always now.

Since the human mind is limited and cannot go beyond the three-dimensional world, it cannot help but measure time and divide it into years, months, and days. To do this, man has used some kind of calendar since time immemorial.

In the past, the lunar calendar was the most used. It was based on the cycles of the moon. The Romans also had a sort of lunar calendar, but it was not at all accurate. Therefore, in 46 BC, Julius Caesar ordered that the solar calendar be adopted. It divided the year into three hundred and sixty-five days and was called the Julian calendar. Nowadays, the Julian calendar, with the adjustments made by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, is the most used in the world.

However, many countries still use the lunar calendar or celebrate their festivals according to it. This year, in China, Korea, and other countries, New Year’s Day is January 22. In Korea, it is called Seol. It is the most important festival in the country. People return to their hometowns to spend their holidays with their families and relatives. Furthermore, they perform a special ritual for their deceased ancestors.

Happy New Year to all my Korean friends and relatives!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SICILIAN PROVERB: CUMU VENI SI CUNTA (WE WILL TELL THE STORY OF AN EVENT AFTER IT HAS HAPPENED)

The literal translation of this Sicilian proverb ‘We will tell the story of an event after it has happened’ does not fully express its meaning.  The hidden meaning is ‘Wait until an event or a situation really happens, and then you can tell the story about it. Do not create a future event in your mind. You have to live your life here and now. The future does not exist, because we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow.’

This proverb recalls the ‘Carpe diem’ (Seize the moment) by the Latin poet, Horatio, The Song of Bacchus by Lorenzo dei Medici, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Having in mind the old Sicilian proverb ‘Cumu veni si cunta’, we will learn not to be involved in situations or happenings that do not exist yet. We will live our life here and now!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE CATHEDRAL OF SYRACUSE, ALSO KNOWN AS THE TEMPLE OF ATHENA

More than once, I have visited the Cathedral of Syracuse and every time I have been impressed by the interior of the church, which is nothing more than the old temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, still well preserved.

The columns with their Doric capitals are intact and even the drapes of the Virgin Mary’s robes recall those of the Greek goddesses.

Paradoxically, the Catholic Church saved this pagan temple by incorporating it into the Cathedral Church.

This also happened in other places. For instance, the Church of San Clemente, near the Colosseum, houses the Temple of Mithra, still visible in the second basement. The same goes for the Pantheon, in Rome, built by the pagan emperor Hadrian to worship all gods of all nations and now turned into the Church of Santa Maria della Rotonda.

What can we infer from this? The desire to worship God has always been present in human beings, from the Stone Age to the present day. Let us be tolerant of all religions and cults!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE LIVE NATIVITY SCENE IN CALASCIBETTA (SICILY)

Yesterday, we went to the nearby town of Calascibetta.  This charming old town was once dotted with caves where people used to live. Nowadays, new buildings have covered much of the caves. However, there is an area, where they still survive. In this place, the local population has set up a live Nativity Scene inside the caves, with men, women, and children dressed in a similar way to that at the time of Jesus’s birth.

We walked along the caves and savored the charm of times gone by, when human heart was more alive, tools were handmade, the food was natural, and the air not polluted.

After visiting the caves, we tasted local products: chickpea soup, cheese, and local sweets.

The live Nativity Scene in Calascibetta stands not only for tourists. It also has a deep religious meaning!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

FATHER PIO, A GREAT FRANCISCAN MONK

Traveling in Southern Italy, we arrived in San Giovanni Rotondo, the town where Father Pio had lived. These days, people call him Saint Pio, for Pope John Paul II proclaimed him a saint in 2002.

Visiting the town, I turned my attention to the contrast between the modest cell where he had lived and the large hospital he had built. The name of the hospital is Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (House to Alleviate Suffering).

Why was he proclaimed a saint? Because he was a man out of the ordinary. Father Pio’s hands and feet showed the stigmata. Furthermore, he had the charisma of bilocation. Some witnesses claim to have seen him at the same time in two different places.

Apart from these extraordinary facts, Father Pio’s great heart led him to hear people’s confession all day. He listened to everyone and gave everyone comfort.

When we left San Giovanni Rotondo, my thought went to the hospital the humble friar, Father Pio, had built. Everybody can see this miracle with his or her own eyes. As for the other miracles, you need faith to believe in them!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE MIRACLE OF SAN GENNARO IN NAPLES

On December 16 of this year, just a few days ago, we were in Naples on a trip. While we were visiting the Cathedral, which houses the bones of San Gennaro and two ampoules containing his blood, the abbot of the chapel took an ampoule in his hand and walked among the people standing there.

I was nearby and filmed the scene. Indeed, after a few minutes, the coagulated blood liquefied.

The liquefaction of San Gennaro’s blood takes place only three times a year. I was very lucky to be in Naples on December 16 and witness the miracle up close.

San Gennaro was beheaded in the year 304 during the persecutions ordered by Emperor Diocletian. As he was dying, a little blood was made to flow into two ampoules. These days, one is almost empty, for part of its content was stolen by King Charles of Bourbon who, having become King of Spain, took it with him; the other is more than half full.

Sometimes, San Gennaro’s blood does not liquefy. In this case, something terrible happens. In 1939 and in 1940, coinciding with the outbreak of the Second World War, the blood of San Gennaro did not liquefy.

Are those who believe in miracles gullible? I do not think so. Religion is also made of mystery and miracle. The rational mind is not enough!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE FEAST OF SANTA LUCIA IN SYRACUSE (SICILY)

Yesterday was a special day for us in Syracuse, for we saw the procession in honor of Santa Lucia, the patron saint of this ancient city. We were able to see the statue of the saint from afar. We could not get close, because a large crowd surrounded it.

Both the litter and the statue have a silver color. Santa Lucia has a knife stuck in her throat because, according to tradition, she was killed this way. She ran into the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian, the most bloody in the history of the Roman Empire.

The incorrupt body of Santa Lucia rests in Venice, because the Venetians brought it back to Italy from Constantinople, during the Fourth Crusade.  However, Santa Lucia was born and lived in Syracuse. This is why the city of Syracuse has called for the return of her body to her hometown, but to no avail.

On December 13, fifty brethren carry the statue on their shoulders from the Cathedral to the Church of Santa Lucia, located near the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Tears. The route is approximately three kilometers. It takes about five hours to get to the Church of Santa Lucia from the Cathedral. The statue is very heavy and the bearers often stop to take a rest.

Even though we could not get close to the statue, the atmosphere and sacredness of the procession touched our hearts!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION IN ENNA (SICILY)

December 8, the Day of the Immaculate Conception, is a special occurrence in my hometown of Enna.

On this day, it is customary to buy some lupine beans and blueberries. In Enna, you can find them only on the eve and on the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

I do not know why we eat such fruit on this day. Surely, there must be a reason. However, following the tradition, yesterday I bought some.

On December 8, the statue of the Virgin Mary is brought in procession. Brethren of the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception carry on their shoulders a heavy litter with the statue of Mary. For them, carrying the litter is a special honor and privilege.

While the statue passes along the streets, people pray to Our Lady for mercy.

The feast of the Immaculate Conception in my hometown of Enna is just a folkloristic event or there is a deep religious meaning behind it?

As for Enna people, I am sure that they live this feast day with authentic religious zeal!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo