December 2016 - NEWSLETTER



Next Meeting Date: December 20,  2016

Meeting Location: Burlington Senior Center 61 Center Street Burlington
3rd Tuesday of the Month @
6:30 PM

Address: P.O. Box 193, Burlington, Ma. 01803

Email:  bsoilodge2223@aol.com  Website: Website: www.burlingtonsonsofitaly.org

News Editor: Deborah Squeri - Dsqueri@yahoo.com













From the Presidents Desk


Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo a Tutti,


Another year has gone by and the holiday season is upon us.  Every year at this time I ask myself, “Where did the year go?”  Suddenly we can't go anywhere without seeing Christmas displays ad nauseum to tell us that Santa is coming soon and 2017 lies just ahead and winter's snows are getting ready to ambush us.  I'm reminded about the old toilet tissue analogy: “Life is like a roll of toilet tissue. The closer you get to the end of the roll, the faster it goes.”  J   What a depressing thought!


But, don't let my 'time flies' depression get you down.  I'll handle the depression for all of us (it's my job!) and urge everyone to realize it's the season to be jolly, spread joy, be positive and make certain we all remember what the day is all about.  No, it's not about gifts and decoration but rather the birth of Jesus Christ.  So let's all be merry but keep in mind the true and holy meaning Christmas.


Now that Thanksgiving Day is behind us, our lodge activities typically slow down as our personal lives get extra busy for the Christmas holiday with Christmas cards and shopping for loved ones (and even some we DON'T love so much).  However, we're not totally through yet since we still have our annual Christmas dinner ahead on Sunday, December 11th at Lucia's in Winchester.  The food is always delicious and plentiful and the after-dinner entertainment will be a treat. We're expecting about 40 members to join in the celebration.  Remember, we'll start dinner as soon as everyone has arrived by 12 noon...so be on time!  Enzo Amari will be our after-dinner entertainment.


This Christmas season we've already made our annual $200 donation to the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans who desperately need our help.  The shelter accomplishes great things for homeless veterans who deserve better.  Not only a shelter but vets are receiving occupational skills to help them find work an give them back the life they gave up for the defense of our nation.


Our Italian Classes program is in jeopardy for 2017.  The fall semester saw but ONE enrollment in the Beginner category so it had to be canceled.  The Beginner classes are usually well attended and they are the traditional feeder for the Intermediate classes which will now be in danger.  Of our total students signed   across the three levels of classes, we were but 50% of normal.  The next semester is scheduled to begin on February 8, 2017 and a decision needs to be made: Either go all out to attract students or TERMINATE the program after over 20 plus years of very successful, popular classes.  It's been a great asset to provide income to finance our lodge's operations after the Grand Lodge takes all our dues in per capita fees leaving us with but $5 per member to support our lodge!  I'll be looking for suggestions AND help at next meeting regarding the future, or lack of, our classes.  I can't do it all alone any longer..


By the way, the Italian Consulate applauds us for our innovative language program with 6 different levels of competence.  But applause alone does nothing for us to obtain students and their help was never forthcoming other than showing our Sons of Italy logo in their online newsletter twice, captioning Italian Classes.  It's not enough, guys, especially when every other organization is promoted in every monthly issue.!


I plan to have a council meeting in January, as I've been doing these past few years.  I’ve not set a date as yet but I will keep all our officers informed when a date and time is set.  There’s much to discuss for 2017 such as the transition to lodge closure following a June cookout at the Elks in Billerica, divesting of lodge funds and termination of all lodge activities and programs.  I'm still hoping someone, ANYONE, will step forward and save the lodge from closing but as each day passes it's not looking well.  It's a sad ending to a lodge that only a  couple of years or so ago was very dynamic and growing.  


Will the last person out be sure to turn off the lights?


I hope to see everyone at our next meeting on Tuesday, December 20th at 6:30 when we'll have a short but meaningful, productive Christmas gathering for a very short meeting followed by pizza and soda....even some wine. So far, and my fingers are crossed, except for some rain and only some chilly temperatures, I’m hopeful the weather will still be ideal and everyone will be able to attend.   No Snow! 


No matter the agenda, it’s ALWAYS a good night out to enjoy the company of our fellow lodge members.  Please attend and take an evening to relax and breathe from the pressures of Christmas shopping and rediness.  You deserve a break.  


I wish for all my brothers and sisters a Merry and Holy Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year 2017!


Felice e Santo Natale e un felice, sano, prospero Anno Nuovo 2017!


Don McGowan



























Articles Of Interest


Da Vinci – The GeniusTemporary Exhibit - On Exhibit Through
February 26, 2017 Da Vinci – The Genius

Rediscover the legacy of Leonardo da Vinci in the most comprehensive exhibition on the Renaissance master to tour the world. Created by Grande Exhibitions with the assistance of the Museo Leonardo da Vinci in Rome and a number of experts in Italy and France, this exhibition brings to life the genius of Leonardo as an inventor, artist, scientist, anatomist, engineer, architect, sculptor, and philosopher.

Working from Leonardo's codices, Italian artisans have faithfully crafted interactive and life-size machine inventions, including the first concepts of a car, bicycle, helicopter, parachute, scuba, a forerunner to the modern military tank, and an ideal city, to name a few. Investigate facsimiles of Leonardo's most famous codices, anatomical studies, Anghiari battle drawings, and displays of his art in actual size. View a high-definition re-creation of The Last Supper, educational animation presentations of the Vitruvian Man, and one of Leonardo's most ambitious projects, the Sforza horse sculpture.

In Da Vinci – The Genius, you'll also gain access to the exclusive Secrets of Mona Lisaexhibition — an analysis of the world's most famous painting conducted at the Louvre by renowned scientific engineer, examiner, and photographer of fine art, Pascal Cotte.

This exhibition has been made available by Grande Exhibitions and Pascal Cotte, France



taken from www.walksofitaly.com


Christmas tree at the Colosseum

Christmas is a major holiday in Italy… which means Italians celebrate lots of great, unique Christmas traditions! Across Italy, Natale tends to be a family-centric holiday, a time to stay at home (and eat!) with loved ones. But customs also vary from city to city, from exactly which dishes are served, to when to open presents, making every region an interesting place to enjoy the holidays.

Want to know how to experience Christmas like an Italian? Here are some of the most popular Christmas traditions in Italy, and how to celebrate them!

Italians kick off the Christmas season (and start decorating) on the Day of the Immaculate Conception, December 8

One Christmas tradition in Italy: a Christmas market tradition in Italy: a Christmas m

In other countries, Thanksgiving (or even Halloween!) signals the start of the Christmas season. In Italy, though, Christmas officially kicks off with the Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on December 8. This is when decorations go up (both on the streets and inside Italian homes) and when some Christmas markets start.


Decorations and huge Christmas trees can be found in main piazzas, like in front of the Colosseum or in Milan’s Piazza Duomo, and Babbo Natale (Father Christmas, the Italian version of Santa Claus) spreads holiday cheer.

As a semi-geeky aside, this holiday, which is both religious and state-sanctioned (meaning lots of offices and businesses will be closed on December 8), doesn’t have anything to do with the day of Mary’s conception. Instead, it celebrates the day when the Church decided that Mary was born without having the stain of original sin. (So no, no one is saying Mary was pregnant for only three weeks!).

During the eight days before Christmas, go caroling—and keep an eye out for bagpipe players

The eight days before Christmas, also known as the Novena, are filled with carolers singing traditional songs around the neighborhood. If you’re in Rome, southern Italy or Sicily, keep an eye out for the zampognari, or bagpipe players—they travel from the nearby mountains to play their merry folklore carols.

Presepi, presepi, and more presepi

Traditional Nativity scene

Along with the fancy lights, wreaths and trees, presepi (nativity scenes) are displayed in many churches and piazzas. Crafting these ornate works of art by hand remains an artisanal tradition in many parts of the country. If you want to go to the source, head to Naples; the southern Italian city is world-famous for their hand-made presepi. It still has whole streets with one workshop after another devoted to the craft. 

Don’t eat meat on Christmas Eve…

To prepare and purify their bodies for Christmas Day, Italians avoid meat on la Vigilia (Christmas Eve). Although the idea is to eat lean, most indulge on multiple courses of fish… sometimes as many as seven! 

…but do go to midnight Mass… or put on skis?

After the family dinner, many Italians head to midnight Mass at their local church to celebrate. (Some Romans even head to the Vatican for Mass with the Pope!). But traditions vary from city to city: Up north, in Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomite Mountains, thrill-seekers ski down the slopes with torches at midnight to welcome Christmas.

On Christmas Day, eat away

After the “light” Christmas Eve dinner, on Christmas Day, Italians invite their family and friends for a large lunch that usually goes on all day. Many save up to have the most lavish celebration possible, serving up traditional dishes like pasta in brodo (pasta in broth), roasts and traditional desserts like panettone

The festivities don’t end on December 25

Celebrations often extend into December 26 with the national holiday of Santo Stefano; families get together and eat leftover Christmas dishes and sweets.

The official end of the Christmas season, though, isn’t until January 6—the Day of the Epiphany, and the twelfth day of Christmas. On the eve of the Epiphany, families usually prepare a large dinner to mark the end of the holiday season; children are given candy or coal (usually made of black sugar), depending on if they were naughty or nice. After January 6, you’ll see Christmas markets close and decorations start to come down.

When you exchange gifts depends on where in Italy you are!

Ask an Italian when her family opens gifts, and it might give you a clue to where she’s from! Gifts are commonly exchanged on Christmas Day after lunch—sometimes with the belief that Jesus has delivered them – take that, Santa!. But some smaller, northern Italian cities believe that the blind Saint Lucia brings gifts for children on December 13, so they open them that morning.

Other families may wait until January 6. The Epiphany is when la befana—a kind of “good witch” who is believed to have followed the wise men, but got lost—drops off presents. La befana is a particular tradition in Rome and Bologna, where the main piazzas often host fun activities for children; in Venice, locals believe that la befana arrives every year by boat! 

Regardless of when they open their presents, many Italians keep their wrapped gifts on display on the pyramid-shaped ceppo, along with candles and other decorations.








In order to honor the traditional seven fish dinner here are some dishes taken from www.cookingwithnonna.com

recipe image

Baby Octopus Salad

·  2 pounds Baby Octopus

·  3 Carrots

·  1 Onion

·  3 ribs of Celery

·  2 Lemons

·  1/4 cup EVOO

·  Bunch of Parsley

·  1/4 tsp. Salt

·  Pinch of Pepper


·  In a medium size pot filled with water, add octopus, coarsely chopped carrots, quartered onion, chopped celery and one whole lemon cut in half.

·  Bring pot to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for a total of 40 minutes.

·  Remove octopus from the liquid and discard rest of contents from pot.

·  Chop the octopus into small pieces but be careful not to chop the octopus too finely.

·  In a bowl, whisk the juice from a whole lemon into a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil until dressing becomes emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste then stir in the chopped parsley.

·  Line a plate with lettuce and place your desired portion of octopus on top of the lettuce.

·  Drizzle the lemon vinegarette over the octopus.

·  You can also add chopped tomatoes to this salad or you can serve this salad into a hollowed out tomato.

·  Enjoy!



recipe image

Crunchy Cod Italiano with Caprese Salsa

·  Crunchy Cod Italiano with Caprese Salsa

·  1 (1 lb.) cod fillet cut into even 4 oz. portions

·  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided

·  ½ cup flour for dredging

·  4 Tbsp light olive oil or vegetable oil, additional if needed

·  ¼ cup creamy Italian dressing

·  1 cup Italian bread crumbs

·  2 medium tomatoes, seeded, drained, and cut into ½ inch cubes

·  1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

·  2/3 cup fresh mozzarella cut into ½ inch cubes

·  ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion

·  2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

·  1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar


·  Sprinkle 4 cod pieces with salt and pepper. Dip each in flour and shake off excess.

·  In a small pie plate, whisk ¼ cup of Italian dressing with 2 Tbsp of light olive oil. In another pie plate, place Italian bread crumbs.

·  Dip floured pieces into dressing-oil mixture and then into crumbs, pressing crumbs to adhere.

·  Toss together tomato chunks, basil, mozzarella cubes, and red onion; drizzle with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Season salsa with salt and fresh pepper to taste and set aside.

·  In a large non-stick skillet, heat remaining 2 Tbsp light olive oil to shimmering. Cook cod pieces quickly, about 2-3 minutes per side until they register 140 internal temp, or are opaque and flaky inside. (Do in batches if necessary, and add a little more oil if needed.)

·  Serve cod portions topped with caprese salsa.-

Note: dipping the fish in the dressing-oil layer keeps it incredibly tender and moist; the bread crumbs gives the crunch of deep fried fish with hardly any of the fat. -

For more recipes please visit:  Http://cookingwithnonna.com/italian-cuisine/category/christmas-fish-recipes.htm





The Angry Drunk


Did you hear about the guy who was in a bar about as drunk as it's possible to get? A group of guys noticed his condition and decided to be good Samaritans and take him home.


First they stand him up find his wallet so they can find out where he lives, but he keeps falling down.


He fell down eight more times on the way to the car, each time with a real thud. After they got to his house, he falls down another four times getting him to the door.


His wife comes to the door, and one guy says, "We brought your husband."  The wife says, "Where's his wheelchair?"  




When I go to casinos,  the most ridiculous sign I see is the one that says: "If you have a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER."


I thought about it for a moment and dialed the number. When they answered I said, "I have an ace and a six. The dealer has a seven. What do I do?"


My ex-wife was deaf. She left me for a deaf friend. To be honest, I should have seen the signs.



December Baking Volunteers:

If you have volunteered to bring bakery goods to our next meeting: thank you in advance!





Italian Poetry

LA BEFANA (An Intalian Christmas-time Legend)
by Shenton

"Old woman, we travel to

the new-born child to see."

"Tis an easy sign I give you,

follow that bright star, Sirs three.


"Wilt thou come with us, old woman

and help us fine the way?"

"Nay, Sirs, I thank thee, but methinks

I have to much to do today."

Since them, 'tis said, at Epiphany

she searches every year,

for children around Italy,

who live both there and here.


She hovers her flying broomstick,

above the houses where they live,

seeking chimneys down which to drop

the gifts she has to give.


Candies for those who have been good;
a lump of coal for those who've not;

remembering each child named upon her list,

careful none should be forgot.


Taken from www.allpoetry.com


Member Happenings:


As announced at the November meeting Briana Squeri will being running a half marathon at Disney World in January.

Briana will be running on the team Homes For Our Troops.  HFOTS builds mortgage free homes for severely disabled post 9/11 veterans.


Thank you to the BSOI for sponsoring Briana by donating to this worthy cause and bringing her closer to her fundraising requirement.  Briana will be thinking of you all as she runs the half marathon.




Image result for Italian christmas tree

How to say Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas in Italian and more...


For both Happy Christmas and Merry Christmas it is: "Buon Natale!".


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year is "Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo" Or, more generally, Happy Holidays is "Buone Feste


With best wishes "Con tanti auguri" or "Con i miglori auguri"


Father Christmas or Santa Claus is: "Babbo Natale


The Christmas tree is "albero di Natale" and decorations are, "decorazioni di Natale"


Christmas carols are: "canti di Natale"


The birth of Christ is: "la nascita di Gesù"


A natavity scene is, "Presepio" and the three wise men or three kings are "i Re Magi".


reference  http://www.maremmaguide.com/




The BSOI Newsletter is published monthly from September through June.  Newsletter topics will include items of interest to members, as well as occasional local/general news and information.


If there is something you would like to see in the Newsletter, please notify:

Deborah Squeri - Dsqueri@yahoo.com



Image result for October 2016 calendar page