Christmas 2004 - Year V, No. 22

The Flakes of Our Lady of the Snows

Snow Lady "That day of Christmas, as Cristostomo says, while the magi were adoring on top of a mountain, a star appeared to them nearby, which had the shape of a very beautiful youth, and on his head a cross was shining, which speaking to the magi, said to them: Go to Judea, and adore there the youth just born... And Jacopo from Varazze, a Dominican friar from Varagine (province of Savona) that writes, in a mythical, at times legendary style..."

That Manger with the Many Little Huts

cover "The incense with its thin, balsamic, warm, wood-scented, pervasive, fragrant smoke, like an aromatic cloud, came from the mountain tops gently sloping down to the Red Sea coasts; it had the power to sweeten bitterness, as the ritual says, to transform pain and sorrows into bearable moments; incense, which was prescribed to Moses for perfumes and used also by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians in their temples..."

And she Tells her Tales to the Children

tree "Also at Christmas we used to count the 9 stars, for twelve evenings...". Giuseppina Signori, born in 1926, an elementary school teacher from 1955 to 1991 - we do not know the number, but surely many were the Christmas fables and legends that she told her children, maybe against the background of the landscape and the villages - mangers of Petrella Liri and Balsorano placed like jewels in the Valle Roveto where she was a teacher, to move later her tales to Paganica di Montereale, Aringo, to the upper Aterno Valley: other landscapes, faraway..."

The Magi and the Legend of Arrogance

Magi "Far away, a humble hut could be seen shining. The Child Jesus was between the donkey and the ox. Mary and Joseph were contemplating him, and kissed him every now and then". Antonio De Nino (1833 - 1907) is searching, it is around 1883, for folk documents on the Epiphany and its myths; he collects fragments of the oral tradition around the event of the "gift" and the meanings that the feast carries along, deep, archaic, addressed to the children today..."

Collected and edited by Vincenzo Battista, translated into English and published in this issue by courtesy of IL MESSAGGERO, four traditional Abruzzese Christmas fables.