Today is November 22nd. At 3:15 this am, I heard some unusual sounds coming from the back of the apartment. You know that feeling when you are sleeping and have to make the decision whether you should wake up and investigate or go back to sleep? So I decided to go back to sleep when I heard a trombone playing a warm up scale…What? Am in the twilight zone?
I rouse myself and go into the living room to look out the window. There underneath our window is a brass band, in a circle playing a song that was vaguely familiar, but I don't know the name. I look around to see if other neighbors are checking out this serenade, but nothing. It is totally quiet in the piazza. A young boy who was with the band, saw my face in the window and waved to me. I waved back. The band then broke into the song "Tanti Auguri" which is the same melody as "Happy Birthday". We heard them leave the piazza and continue tooting their music as they went marching along. The Stoic One was up by this time and said, What the ????was that? I had no clue.
So I met up with Manuele, and said did you hear the music last night….oh yes, he answers. I say, what was that? He said it happens every year on Nov. 22nd everywhere in Italy. (This was news to my Italian teachers in Perugia who had no such sleep interruption.) Anyway here in Umbertide, it is the way that St. Cecelia is celebrated. She is the patron saint of music so the community bands honor her by waking everybody up….ok….
So this is remarkable for 2 reasons. 1. Who was the wise guy who thought the saint would be pleased to have every one awakened in her honor? 2. This is the first Italian celebration I have seen where there was no…..Food!!!
Italian lessons are going well. The Stoic One still hates reflexive verbs. I am continuing to improve, slowly, in my use of the correct tense when I speak. I am trying to learn two new words a day. Not doing so well at that. Do you think we are too old to learn to speak Italian fluently? Probably….but what the heck.