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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 05/27/13

Monday, May 27, 2013

THE GIANT CANDLE RACE FROM ITALY!!



    Trumpets blare, women weep and a giddy crowd roars as burly men carrying towering wooden pillars charge through narrow streets in a medieval tradition of pride and devotion to their patron saint.
    For more than 800 years, the ancient central Italian town of Gubbio has erupted in a riot of yellow, blue and black each May for the "Festa dei Ceri" (Festival of the Candles) to honor patron saint Ubaldo Baldassini, a 12th century bishop.




one of the teams grimacing with the heavy candle


    In a day filled with feverish festivities that include hurling jugs of water onto a crowd, the highlight is a strenuous race where three teams tear through the town and up a mountain with 400-kg wooden pillars balanced on their shoulders.
    The festival taps into a deep-rooted sense of local pride and tradition -- the sort of fierce identity tied to their town or region that Italians are famous for. Gubbio's residents -- known as "Eugubini" -- scoff that even residents of nearby Perugia would not understand what makes their event so special.







    "There's a lot of kinship between us Eugubini and this is something that really unites us all," said 36-year-old Massimo Fiorini. "Perhaps I haven't seen this guy here for a whole year, but for one day, he and I are brothers."
    The emotion is even stronger for the hundreds of former or current bearers of the wooden pillars known as "ceri" (candles), who struggle for words to describe their exhilaration.








    "The only emotion stronger than this that I have ever felt was when my daughter was born," says Matteo Baldinelli, 40, a so-called "ceraiolo" or candle-bearer dressed in a yellow shirt with a red bandana in honor of his team, St. Ubaldo.
"It's difficult to explain, this is something that we have been brought up with since we were little, we've lived it all our lives."
    "AN EMOTION LIKE NO OTHER"
    As usual, the festivities began early Friday as drummers wandered through the town at 5 a.m. to wake everyone up, before residents trooped en masse to the local cemetery to pay homage to deceased candle-bearers.



The Three Saints


    Mass follows, and then the three wooden pillars, each topped with a figure of their respective saint -- St. Ubaldo, St. George or St. Anthony -- are raised upright to a loud roar from a sea of Eugubini packed into a central square.
    "When you see the candle arrive, it's incredible, an emotion like no other," said 43-year old Lorenzo Rughi.
    As per tradition, three men standing halfway up the pillars threw a jug of water onto the crowd, sparking a feverish scramble for broken pieces that are said to bring good fortune.







    The pillars are then whisked away by a team of ceraioli -- eight men to carry it on their shoulders, another eight who provide support, and four for navigation -- through the streets.
    Trouble quickly befell the St. Anthony team, whose cero toppled over into the crowd as the ceraioli turned down a slope, wounding three bystanders. Tragedy was narrowly averted when a baby was pulled from her stroller seconds before it fell.
   Medical staff rushed in, but order was soon restored and the ceri galloped along again, stopping by house windows to pay homage to the old, infirm or deceased, bringing some to tears.


One of the teams relaxing before the competition



"   This is so emotional for me," Daniela Angeloni, 41, wept as she held on to a passing cero in memory of her father, a ceraiolo who died this year. "I'm doing this in his honor."
    Almost every family in Gubbio has a longtime allegiance to one of the three teams -- proudly declared on flags hung out of their windows -- and plastic tables on their doorsteps offered passers-by homemade wine, local ham, salami and cheese.
    Communal lunches follow, from an invitation-only affair at a 14th century building where residents dance and wave kerchiefs to more humble cafeteria-style lunches for ceraioli where seafood risotto and bottles of wine are passed around.






    By afternoon, residents are stumbling through the street in a wine-fueled stupor as they await the evening race, which is preceded by the sound of a trumpet and sword-bearing horsemen.
    The climax finally arrives as the ceri thunder through the streets, with St. Ubaldo's yellow-shirted team first, followed by St. George in blue and then St. Anthony in black.
There is no winner -- the race ends in the same order it starts -- though that's hard to tell from the taunts of "You'll arrive at Christmas at this rate" and emotional embraces and tears at the end, which is followed by more consumption of wine.
    "What I felt inside me when I carried the cero is something that no one else can understand -- we're born with it," said Peppe Minelli, a longtime ceraiolo.
"The others could tumble and fall, I couldn't have cared less. I only cared about me and my cero."

WHY TRYING TO WAIT OUT THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE COULD GET YOU KILLED!!









    I want to bring up some alternate methods of thought, that the best way to survive the zombie apocalypse is to stay mobile and not hunker down in a single place. Here's why that it might be true.



A Zombie Apocalypse Isn't Siege Warfare

    Zombie survivalists like to make a parallel between fending off zombies and medieval forms of siege warfare. At first glance, it's easy to see why they might make that comparison: you have an overwhelming mass of combatants outside your gates, but within a well-stocked stronghold, a small number of defenders can hold off almost indefinitely.
    The problem with this idea is that surviving a siege puts faith in the idea that your attackers will eventually get bored or be incapable of feeding or otherwise supplying themselves and will soon stop attacking you.














    We can't assume those things of zombies. Zombies don't get bored. Zombies are always hungry, but hunger won't stop them. They're impervious to disease and they will never revolt or turn on one another. They don't tire, and the chill of winter or the brunt of a storm won't faze them. There's no commander you can kill to demoralize the rest of the group. The only thing that will stop a zombie is a bullet to the head or (if you can hold out long enough), the slow process of bodily decay. And we're even assuming that zombies do decay. What if the zombie virus has some preservative quality that means the walking dead won't atrophy away to wind-scraped bones? Then you're looking at an indefinite period of zombie activity and you will never have enough supplies or ammo to survive an onslaught like that. The zombies may not get you, but you'll starve to death and won't be any better off.













Why Staying Mobile Is a Good Idea

    By staying on the move, you can scavenge supplies as you go, killing zombies when it's advantageous to do so, and running when the numbers are stacked against you. You're also more likely to meet other survivors and be able to band together. It's not an easy lifestyle, and in the long run, it may not give you any better chance of surviving than staying put, but it's a way to take a more active role in your survival.
    You need different skills to survive the zombie apocalypse on the move than you would bunkered down in a stronghold: you need to be in shape and you need to be able to navigate without the aid of modern devices - there's no Mapquest to help you out anymore. You need to be able to scrounge food from the world around you - whether that means hunting and foraging in the wilderness, or scavenging for canned goods in abandoned supermarkets.












    The mobile zombie survivalist has more dangers to face than just zombies: they're exposed to the elements, may have trouble finding clean drinking water, and even a "minor" injury like a sprained ankle from a slip or fall could levy a death sentence if it keeps them from getting to a defensible position before the zombies arrive. Even failing that, being on the run is exhausting, and mobile survivalists may soon find their energy reserves drained when they need them most.



Just in case you wanted to send a letter during the apocalypse



Mix The Two

    When possible, the best survival strategy may be to mix the two: stay on the move until you find a good place to make a stand, defend it for a bit while you rest and recover from your recent journey, but get out and move on before too many zombies accumulate or before your supplies start running low.

IS IT CALLED MEMORIAL DAY OR DECORATION DAY?




    Is it called Memorial Day or Decoration Day?     Many people, especially those in the south, ask themselves this question every year. Compounding the confusion is the fact that both celebrations are often held on the same weekend in May. Most of us have participated in Memorial Day celebrations. I've had the experience of participating in several Decoration Day celebrations as well.
According to History.com Memorial Day was first celebrated as Decoration Day. This day first happened officially a few years after the Civil Warn ended on May 30, 1868.







    General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic is widely credited for the original proclamation. This held great importance even though the Grand Army of the Republic was a group of former soldiers and sailors and not a governmental organization.
President




   Richard Nixon officially declared Memorial Day to be a federal holiday in 1971. It is held on the last Monday in May as a remembrance of those brave men and women who died in war. Traditionally, a wreath is placed in Arlington Cemetery as a way of memorializing those who died. 







    Decoration Day had similar beginnings and is in fact the tradition that gave birth to Memorial Day. Even today it is celebrated by many small churches in the south. It began as a way to honor Civil War dead but soon became a time to put flowers or other decorative items on the graves of all the dead.
 







    Southern churches are famous for having cemeteries on the same land as the church itself. Sometimes, a driveway will separate the two sections but not always. It is very common for the cemetery to be adjacent to the church.
    
Decoration Day is usually celebrated on the last Sunday in May. Often, this is combined with a church homecoming celebration possibly all day preaching and dinner on the grounds. This is different from a Memorial Day celebration where only the graves of soldiers are decorated.






    Church members will go to great lengths to be sure that all graves are decorated and cleaned. There may not be any living family members for a particular plot but there will be flowers on the grave.
    It is said that "cleanliness is next to Godliness". This is where the church literally shines. Headstones will be scrubbed and cleaned until they shine like new pennies. All debris is removed from the cemetery. The grass will be cut, weeds pulled and all of the cemetery grounds will be trimmed.








    Only then is the cemetery ready for the flowers to be placed. On Decoration day each grave will be decorated to the one hundred flowers stuck in the dirt on any given grave. You may see pots of live flowers, expensive floral arrangements or hand picked bouquets. The graves may also have photos or other mementos placed upon them.
    The commitment to honoring the dead isn't just made in flowers. On Decoration Day, many southern churches will collect monetary donations as people come to tend their plots. These funds go toward cemetery upkeep and play an important role in the continued maintenance of the cemetery.
    Even though the two special occasions occur on the same weekend and share common beginnings the two days are not the same. As more people celebrate Memorial Day fewer are left to celebrate or even understand Decoration Day.