Thursday, September 8, 2011
Tuscany draws you with an irresistible air to Arezzo transforming a land into a theater filled with a lifestyle of tradition, culture and cuisine. Arezzo which is about 80 kilometers from Florence hosts the Giostra del Saracino or the joust held at the Piazza Grande. This medieval festival displays facets of its old world charm, its famous history, tradition and its tasteful cuisine.
Held on the first Sunday in September, the procession of La Giostra del Saracino winds its way right down to the Piazza Grande. Originating from the ancient Crusades, this Saracen joust began in the Middle Ages. The Christian Crusaders battled with the Islamic tribes or the Moors of the North African Arabs in an attempt to drive them out of Europe. This Baroque joust started between the 15th and the 16th centuries and gained popularity. But during the 18th century, the royal air that surrounded it declined and lost its notoriety. A brief spell of fame enveloped this game during the Romantic period. With a culture of tradition, the Giostra del Saracino was re-established as a historic event in 1931 with its original 14th century ambience. With the spirit of competition and joy, the joust also takes place when dignitaries and princes visit the city and during important functions, carnivals and weddings.
Held twice a year, La Giostra del Saracino is also enacted on the third Saturday at San Donato as well as the first Sunday in September at Arezzo. Exciting and exhilarating, this medieval joust starts with an air of anticipation as the procession with eight knights clad in their chain armors canter past on their horses. The knights represent the four quarters of the old city. They are known as the Porta Crucifera in red and green, the
Porta del Foro in yellow and crimson, the Porta Sant’Andrea in green and white and the Porta Santo Spirito in yellow and blue. The parade follows with 311 people dressed in the 14th century apparel and 31 horses trotting along with their riders with multi-colored flags held by the flag bearers. The joust begins with a traditional ritual with the Bishop blessing the armies on the steps of the Cathedral. Then the ‘Araldo’ reads the ‘Disifida di Buratto’, which is a poetic recital, dating back to the 17th century. A greeting is extended to the knights and the authorities who are in charge. A musical chorus ‘Inno del Saracino’ is sung by the Gruppo Musici and a final ‘go ahead’ signal is given by the Magistrates to start La Giostra del Saracino.
The aim of the joust is to hit the shield held by a wooden effigy of a Saracen. The Maestro del Campo or the Master of the Field gives the signal for the knights to race on their mounts towards the wooden effigy. If the knights miss the target, the Saracen effigy portraying the ‘Puppet King of the Indies’ swings a ball with spikes on it that hits the knight if he is not careful. The crowds cheer as the knight from their quarters finds
his mark, but lapse into silence when he does not and turn to distracting the knights from the other quarters when it is their turn. The knights of the joust who hit the shield of the effigy win the most number of points and go on to winning the prize of the Golden Lance. Arezzo takes you back into the past with its memorable traditions and a culture that traverses the ancient ages
Thanksgiving Day is a very important day in the United States. There are many things that are especially related to the celebrations of the Thanksgiving Day. These include Thanksgiving turkey trivia, pilgrims, thanksgiving proclamation, thanksgiving as a national holiday and other things. Some of such facts are mentioned here which will not only help you enhance your knowledge about Thanksgiving Day but also make you enjoy this day with even more zeal.
1. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.
2. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
3. The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate the Thanksgiving.
4. The pilgrims arrived in North America in December 1620.
5. The Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America.
6. The pilgrims sailed on the ship, which was known by the name of 'Mayflower'.
7. They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day in the fall of 1621.
8. They celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
9. The drink that the Puritans brought with them in the Mayflower was the beer.
10. The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.
11. The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621 and invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians also to the feast.
12. The first Thanksgiving feast was held in the presence of around ninety Wampanoag Indians and the Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, was also invited there.
13. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days.
14. President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in the year 1789 and again in 1795.
15. The state of New York officially made Thanksgiving Day an annual custom in 1817.
16. Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor with a magazine, started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827 and it was result of her efforts that in 1863 Thanksgiving was observed as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer.
17. Abraham Lincoln issued a 'Thanksgiving Proclamation' on third October 1863 and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. Whereas earlier the presidents used to make an annual proclamation to specify the day when Thanksgiving was to be held.
18. President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored Thursday before last of November as Thanksgiving Day in the year 1939. He did so to make the Christmas shopping season longer and thus stimulate the economy of the state.
19. Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that now onwards Thanksgiving will be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
20. Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the United States. But it was Thomas Jefferson who opposed him. It is believed that Franklin then named the male turkey as 'tom' to spite Jefferson.
21. The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in the 1920's.
22. Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the United States.
23. When the Pilgrims arrived in North America, the clothing of the Native Americans was made of animal skins (mainly deer skin).
24. On December 11, 1620 the first Pilgrims (or Puritans, as they were initially known) landed at Plymouth Rock.
25. By the fall of 1621 only half of the pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived. The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to give a thanksgiving feast.