Wednesday, December 24

Oh Happy Day! (When Jesus was Born)

It’s Christmas Eve, the night that most Italians celebrate with family and close friends, awaiting the arrival of the Baby Jesus. In fact, only at midnight he makes his appearance in the crèche.

Driving up to my little slice of paradise in the hills outside Rome, I listened to my favorite Christmas Cds, and I noticed how American (and English) Christmas tunes are often more fun and funny, versus the reverence one pays here in Italy. If you stop and think about Jingle Bell Rock, even the lively Deck the Halls! Or the sassy, Santa Baby, and of course, what holiday would be complete without Grandma got run over by a Reindeer?

I guess having the Pope in your backyard helps keep the dial firmly on Jesus. In fact, the Italians even have their very own Christmas Carol about the whole event: Tu Scendi dalle Stelle. It seems our tunes, even Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night or even Away in a Manger, don’t quite mark the seriousness of the birth of Jesus the way the Italians do.
Singing this ditty in our Caroling group, I forgot all about Santa, Joy & Merriment and started hoping they had laced the eggnog with Prozac.

(As I type this, it’s the opening song to the Verona Christmas Eve Concert on TV – I’m getting the vodka out now)…


Tu scendi dalle stelle, You come down from the stars
O Re del Cielo, Oh King of the Heavens
e vieni in una grotta, and you come into a cave
al freddo al gelo cold and icy
e vieni in una grotta,
al freddo al gelo
.

Now here comes the Catholic Guilt


O Bambino mio Divino Oh my Baby Jesus, My Divine
Io ti vedo qui a tremar I see you here shivering
O Dio Beato Oh Blessed God
Ahi, quanto ti costò Oh, how much it cost you
l’avermi amato! to have loved me!

In case it didn't quite sink in...

Ahi, quanto ti costò
l’avermi amato!


– the kiddies are singing it on TV…there’s not a smiling face in the house.

A te, che sei del mondo il Creatore, To you, you who are the world, the Creator
mancano panni e fuoco there are no clothes, no fire
O mio Signore! Oh my God!
mancano panni e fuoco there are no clothes, no fire
O mio Signore!

And it ends with…
Povero ancora.
Povero ancora. Still poor, still poor.


Pass the tissues.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

you are a stitch!

btw, did you do a photo montage?? i swear i didn't see a tree in front of the colosseo this year. . .or did they put it up overnight while i wasn't looking? that's what happened with the xmas lights in mv nuovo. i swear, it's elves who do the work when no one is looking.

c.

Francesca Maggi said...

No, the tree is there. The photo was taken by a friend. But then again, it could be last year's...!

Il Giocatore said...

7/8 of things you post are rubbish. You have 44 years wasted, don't even understand the meaning of christian song. If you are not christian, why do you waste time try to understand what you cannot understand? poor francesca! I won't tell you go abck to your fucking country because we are so democratic (in italy) that we cannot push away people like you. On the contrary, your country is so democratic to let Guantanamo abse still exist, and tortures prisoners.
People like you makes intelligent people smile and laugh more than Zelig, believe me! and you think to know italy, instead you don't know a fuck of this country, you know (maybe) only Rome

Francesca Maggi said...

Do you mean to tell me that Christmas is NOT the Celebration of the Birth of Christ???!
Well, I'll be damned! I always had a sneaking suspicion it was really truly about that fat jolly guy in the red suit...
But, thank you for pointing out that I make intelligent people smile & laugh more than Zelig...that is totally an awesome compliment.
What does my blog do to less intelligent ones? Make them hurl inarticulate insults and point to the idea of censorship of free expression?
In the meantime, I promise to do better in the New Year...I'm aiming for 8/8 of absolute rubbish.

Anonymous said...

Wait, I don't quite understand il giocatore's comment. His tone is nasty but then he says you make intelligent people laugh. So, I guess that means he is not intelligent . . .or is he actually laughing??? I am confused.

Even if I think it shows poor taste and low class, I can forgive il giocatore for the over-use of the word 'fuck'. He is obviously not a native English speaker. Therefore he has a limited vocabulary and is unable to find a more appropriate term.

For the record I think Signa Incontrada is quite witty. She makes me laugh. Bisio is hit or miss.

C.

Francesca Maggi said...

I also found him amusing...talking about Christian values...what a spokesperson! So much for peace, love & understanding.