Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Tears of San Lorenzo – Make all your wishes come true

Photo by S. Kohle & B. Koch 1997“When you wish upon a star…,” music by Leigh Harline / Lyrics by Ned Washington, performed by the Disney character Jimmy the Cricket (Cliff Edwards), immediately touched the heart of those who listened. We may not have known it but it is part of our culture and heritage. Every year around the tenth of August Italians look to the sky as the Universe provides us with a show of fireworks as meteors pass through earth’s atmosphere. The Tears of San Lorenzo is a tradition dating back to the III century when, according to popular belief, San Lorenzo was burned at the stake. The falling stars are his tears of suffering. Actually, San Lorenzo was decapitated but the burning fits the tradition better.

P.P. RubensThe Night of San Lorenzo is celebrated on the 10th of August and initiates the festivities of Ferragosto. There are various traditions tied to this event but the most prevalent is that for every falling star a wish will be granted. The phenomenon occurs as the earth passes through, on its yearly orbit around the sun, the detritus fields left by the passing of the Perseids comets. While activity begins in late July this year the heaviest showers will be from the 9th to the 14th of August with an average of 5 falling stars per hour. Our cultures finds interesting ways to pass on the things we have learned over the years. They become part of our common knowledge, things we know, without actually knowing why. This is one of those traditions.

My children would look forward to the Tears of San Lorenzo and we would talk for weeks ahead in anticipation. Plans would be made to find the best position on the hills away from the city lights. Blankets placed on the cool ground to protect from the evening humidity, hot chocolate in a thermos, and we would chat, discussing all things related.

Who was San Lorenzo? Are those really tears? Why are the stars falling? Can they hurt us? How often does it happen?

These are opportunities for the family to talk together and pass knowledge from generation to generation.

It is an opportunity for couples, young and old, to watch the stars in camporella, known here a parking or snipe hunting. It is tradition, it is family, wherever you are it is an opportunity to be together and share your culture with those of our future generations. Check out the NASA site for more information about the Night of San Lorenzo.




Blogger Alfonso Cevola said...

I'm getting out my telescope

6:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is too cool! I wish I could be there to see it. Maybe next year...

5:49 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Jennifer This is the great thing. It is not just in Italy. In fact the highest concentration can be seen here in the US tonight!

IWG If you get just a little outside the highly lighted population centers you should be able to see with the naked eye. Perhaps this is a good evening for a bottle, or two, of wine, some prosciutto crudo, and a trip with your babe in camporella!

8:46 AM

Blogger Dianne said...

Oh dear! What have I missed! It sounds like spectacular sights and experiences were seen to by all ... except me!!!

Great post ..


1:29 AM


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