Mascali Celebrations – The Perfect Holiday
When recently asked what my perfect holiday would look like and how I would celebrate it, I closed my eyes to picture it. Beautiful images appeared one after the other. They all had one thing in common – my family was gathered in my home to celebrate life and our family. Our family consists of four generations ranging from newborns to octogenarians - some bound by blood, some through marriage, some through love and friendship – mothers, fathers, grand parents, great-grand parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and fuzins*. When we gather for a celebration, it’s always a big party!
There is a huge communal table laden with delicious food and drink, everyone is gathered around, eating, drinking, laughing, sharing and enjoying. The older children are entertaining the younger children, the great-grand parents and grandparents are sitting back taking in the moment, reveling in pride and amazement as they watch “la famiglia”, and the rest of us are creating the lively chatter that fills the air.
There are family traditions we all embrace and share with the babies and young children who are too young to understand they will enjoy these traditions for years to come. It is a time for us all to gather and take a time-out from our respective busy schedules and catch up and connect with one another. It’s a chance to hold these sweet babies and children and let them experience what it feels like to be surrounded by family and share stories, jokes, accomplishments and love. They will come to associate this warm special feeling with family gatherings and if they’re like me, they’ll hold them close in their hearts as some of their fondest memories.
So when I think about my perfect holiday, it’s not tied to a specific date on the calendar. It’s not about gift giving or the fanciest feast or wine or dinnerware. It’s about spending time together to make the family bonds stronger, enjoy family traditions, and create new ones, and, of course, it’s about the food!
And it wouldn’t be a family celebration if we didn’t close out the gathering with some singing (and once the music starts, it doesn’t take long before the dancing begins) and a lot of hugging and kissing. Our celebrations are joyful and fun-loving and the spirit that is created in my home is palpable throughout the party and lingers well after – leaving us all with sweet dreams of our many blessings.
*”Fuzins” is a term of endearment coined by the Sandomeno and Mascali children. The “f” stands for friends – the attachment to a familial relationship (cousins - slang “cuzins/cuz”) represents their feeling that although they weren’t born into the same family, we were brought together and became family.