Friday, November 22, 2013

Festa di Santa Cecilia

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.


  1. Susan, that is so cool. I can say that, of course, because I was not awakened at 3 am, but kudos to those reverent Italians for their recognition of EVERYTHING. And as for learning the language, keep at it, and never admit that you are too old for anything! Have Fun!

    1. Hi Melanie, they are into recognition here that is for sure! I love that nothing has to be perfect or professional to be recognized. We are plodding away at Italian. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. You could post your two words daily and we could all learn with you! And, I'm with the Stoic One - reflexive verbs are brutti!

  3. of course you are not too old to learn italian!! If that were true then I would be too old too and I'm taking Italian 101 right now. Hope it's not a waste of time!!

  4. The age thing is just such a good excuse, it's hard not to use it. I actually love my Italian class and expect I will be taking lessons forever. I read somewhere that in learning a new language there are the people who are true beginners and then everyone else, meaning you never stop learning. Keep studying, it is not a waste of time!