Are you a FaceBook user?

If you use Face Book, be sure to find IFAFA’s FB page and follow it. We post information about our members’ activities, folk events in both the U.S. and Italy, and other items of cultural or folkloric interest. Once you receive our posts regularly, please interact with us! It “boosts our ratings” the more people like and comment on the postings, so please visit frequently and boost the ratings by liking and commenting often on the posts. Just looking at the page, but not participating, is not as helpful.


We would also like to receive more news from IFAFA troupes and individuals that we can post. Even if it is not likely that someone in California would be able to attend an event in, say, Rockford, IL, including posts about local events shows the breadth of IFAFA’s activities, and, when someone local does like a post, that person’s like may be seen by others who may then become aware of, and join, our page. If you have events that you would like to see on the IFAFA FB page, you may add it as a Visitor Post, or you may email pictures and brief descriptions to Jackie Capurro at <>.

ANNUAL ITALIAN CHRISTMAS MARKET at the American Italian Heritage Museum Albany, NY

at the American Italian Heritage Museum
Albany, NY
FRI., NOV. 30th & SAT., DEC. 1 st : 10 am to 5 pm // SUN., DEC. 2 nd: 11am to 3 pm

Share this festive Italian Tradition with us in our American Italian Heritage Museum building, 1227 Central Avenue in Albany, NY. Our exhibit rooms will be transformed into market places filled with so much for you to enjoy, each one having something for almost everyone on your Christmas shopping list ~ including yourself! Be sure to look for unique Italian merchandise that will be available for purchase featuring things that are hard to find: Italian language greeting cards, Made-in-Italy items, hand-made wood Ceppo, Befana figures, themed ornaments, plaques, novelties, jewelry, delicious homemade Italian baked goods & much more along with our talented vendors upstairs, including Nini’s Sicilian Salsa. Come, see the always beautiful room-sized Italian Nativity Special Exhibit and celebrate our culture at this most beautiful time of year. **Sit down in our Market Café & enjoy food, beverages & fellowship. Buon Natale!**


Festa del Grano in Molise

These flowers, handmade from wheat, are just one facet of the elaborate tradition in Jelsi, Molise, where an annual Festa del Grano is held in honor of Saint Anna. Search for more live video and archives of this enduring tradition.


For more, visit this English language site with several videos detailing the event:…/festa-del-grano-…/

Our thanks to Janine Giarrusso, an IFAFA member from Pittsburgh, PA, for this interesting post! This festival takes place today (26 JULY 2018) in Molise!

Youth Gathering: Celebrating Your Italian Heritage

If you are anywhere near Albany, NY, please help us to get the word out about this wonderful event. The purpose of the event to help our young people to know and appreciate their Italian heritage and culture. Free and open to the public.
–Prof./Cav. Philip J. DiNovo, President, American Italian Heritage Association <>

Book: Global Tarantella

Global Tarantella: Reinventing Southern Italian Folk Music and Dances
Incoronata Inserra, Virginia Commonwealth University

Book: Global Tarantella

In Global Tarantella (University of Illinois Press, 2017) Incoronata Inserra ventures into the history, global circulation, and recontextualization of tarantella, a genre of Southern Italian folk music and dance. Examining tarantella’s changing image and role among Italians and Italian Americans, Inserra illuminates how factors like tourism, translation, and world music venues have shifted the ethics of place embedded in the tarantella cultural tradition. Once rooted in a world of rural Catholicism, tarantella now thrives in urban, secular, migrant, and ethnic settings. Inserra reveals how the genre’s changing dynamics contribute to reimagining Southern Italian identity and shows how its global growth promotes a reassessment of gender relations in the Italian South, helping create space for Italian and Italian American women to reclaim gendered aspects of the genre.

Calandra Italian American Institute
For more information, contact the Calandra Italian American Institute at:

St. Joseph Altar Celebration in Des Moines, IA

— Patricia Civitate, Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa and Director of Il Trattenimento Italiano Folk Dance Troupe

This year marked the 21st anniversary of the St. Joseph Altar Celebration sponsored by the Italian-American Cultural Center of Iowa. This event was successful because of the many hours that numerous volunteers spent making sure that this would be a truly traditional and spiritual undertaking. Sincere thanks to all those who made it happen.

Central St. Joseph Altar

Kathy Foggia and Mary Romanelli began early in February setting up the hall with the backdrop curtains and the three-tiered steps that formed the altar. They covered the steps with linens, attached the table skirts, and then proceeded to add the decorative breads, altar identification cards, and other symbols of faith. John Heldreth and Joseph Boehm donated additional fruits and vegetables and completed the decoration of the altars. Continue reading “St. Joseph Altar Celebration in Des Moines, IA”

The Tradition of St. Joseph’s Table

March 19th is the Feast Day of St. Joseph, one of the most beloved saints in the Catholic tradition, regarded as the protector of the family. His feast day is celebrated in many ways throughout Italy, but it has a special significance to Sicilians and Sicilian-Americans.

The Holy Family

The origin of the celebration dates back to a severe drought which took place in Sicily during the Middle Ages. Crops failed, farm animals died, and famine spread across the island. The Sicilian people turned their prayers to St. Joseph, asking him to intercede on their behalf for relief from the devastating famine, and they promised that, in return, they and their descendants would honor St. Joseph each year on his feast day. Rain came and returned life to the dried land. The disaster was averted, and the Sicilian people gave thanks to St. Joseph with a celebration. The villagers gathered food and placed it on the Continue reading “The Tradition of St. Joseph’s Table”

Bring in the New Year with Lentil Soup

Zuppa di Lenticchie
Italian Lentil Soup
(as demonstrated and served at the 2017 IFAFA Conference in Rockford, IL)

Lentils are traditionally served at many New Year’s dinners throughout Italy. With their coin-like shape, they are believed to represent good fortune and money in the coming year. They are commonly served with either cotechino or zampone.

Jody Perrecone and Mary Ann Ferruggia demonstrate how to make Italian Lentil Soup to participants at the 2017 IFAFA Conference in Rockford, IL.

1 lb green lentils, rinsed and sorted
3 large yellow onions, chopped
2 leeks, white part only, chopped
1 T minced garlic (3 cloves)
3 T olive oil
salt and black pepper
1 t ground cumin (optional)
8 celery sticks, chopped
4-6 carrots, chopped
3 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
4 T tomato paste
2 T red wine or red wine vinegar (optional)
½ box ditalini (little thimbles) or other small pasta
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to serve)

In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are Continue reading “Bring in the New Year with Lentil Soup”

Christmas: The Legend of Panettone

[The Italian version – Natale: la leggenda del panettone – appears at the end of this reading.]

Our beloved panettone, sweet symbol of the Christmas season, has a rather amusing origin. Panettone, as it is understood today, is a recent gastronomical specialty in the history of Italian sweets. In fact, it is said to have been invented only at the end of the 19th century in Milan according to a truly legendary episode.

As a greeting for a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year, here is the delightful story of the famous panettone. Once upon a time there was a bread-maker named Toni. One fine day, Toni fell madly in love with a certain peasant girl named Lucia. Lucia went to town every morning to sell eggs. Toni, every morning, awaited Lucia’s arrival with longing and enthusiasm, and then, when he saw her, so strong were the feelings that he felt for this young country girl that he never knew what to say and he remained dumbstruck. So many loving glances exchanged, so many sighs, and so many broken eggs, just because this poor devil was unable to express his love. Finally, Toni had a brilliant idea: he decided to prepare a dessert for his adored Lucia, not just any dessert, but a special dessert never made before!

So, Toni prepared a dessert made with eggs, butter, and candied fruit in a Continue reading “Christmas: The Legend of Panettone”

A Christmas Eve Tradition

— by Leslie Gigliotti

Although Christmas is commonly viewed as a commercial holiday, for many families it is still a religious holiday steeped in tradition. This is especially true for the Italian-American population. In Italy, it is often said, Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi (Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you wish). One of the many family traditions, alongside decorating the tree and attending midnight mass, is preparing seven types of fish dishes for the Christmas Eve meal.

The tradition of the seven fishes prepared for meals on Christmas Eve lends itself to a Central and Southern Italian tradition and is not prevalent in the Northern region. Some argue that this may be due to Southerners being a bit more superstitious than their Northern counterparts. Of course, you don’t have to look too far for an explanation of why fish is an obvious choice on Christmas Eve: Catholic rules prohibit the consumption of meat on Christmas Eve.

But, like many traditions, the Christmas Eve fish dish has many explanations. There are several arguments provided as to why there are seven fishes consumed, rather than say, six, or even ten. Some reasons are overtly religious: seven gifts of the Holy Spirit; seven sins: pride, envy, anger, gluttony, sloth, lust and greed; seven sacraments of the Church: baptism, penance, Holy Eucharist, Continue reading “A Christmas Eve Tradition”