25.06.2011 30 °C
I found out that every second saturday is Church services up the hill. I debated going, however, decided it would be a good experience. The church is not all that big but quite beautiful.
Irma and I went to the 4pm service and although it has been a while since I've attended mass, I must say that things don't change. I didn't understand the language spoken yet understood everything going on. Some things really do not change. The priest had a deep reverberating voice and when he sang (at the beginning and end of mass) his melodic tones penetrated every cell in my body. The way the church is set up is that he conducts service under a dome-like structure and it acts as an amplifier for his voice. And since the family pew was up close - I really received the full effect of his singing. This was a new experience for me.
One tradition that still holds over today was one that I had not heard of before. On your way out the church once mass was over, anyone who had deceased buried in the cemetary grabbed a handful of holy water. They then made their way to the cemetary plots and sprinkled the holy water over them to bless them (as Irma did over her parents plots).
In the past - as with all small villages I surmise - church day was not only a day to get together and pray and to receive the priest's blessing, it was also a time of socializing. After all, with the houses so far apart one didn't socialize on a regular basis. This was the day to get together and meet each other and catch up on news about your neighbors - and not only from your village either. Today was no exception. I was introduced to people who know my father and I was able to speak to those who spoke italian and/or english. Unfortunately for me, most spoke the local dialect and although I understood a few words I was unable to speak it. The socializing took just as long (if not longer) than the mass itself. This was an intersting experience.
Today was also the day for people to drop by and pay us a visit. Guerino from down in Draga (2 km away) popped in for a bit. He came bearing a wonderful homemade wine. Quite delicious I must say. We all chit chatted for a bit and that was nice. Later after mass, Both Alfio and Silva dropped by. They too came bearing gifts. Freshly picked green beens and onions from their garden. We had that for supper prepared with a little garlic and boy oh boy - talk about sweet and delicious. I could have eaten only that for supper. I left all of them to chat on the patio as I could not participate. No problem though - I did my own stuff after I took pictures of them all.
My cousin George had one mission statement for my father while here in Istria ... to find the best Rakija around!! I call this 'Fire Water'. Well George - he doesn't have to look any further - it has been found! Alfio also brought with him his own homemade Rakija and dad said it honestly is the best he has ever tasted. He likes it so much that he has staked claim to the bottle Alfio brought. I said whoa there - what about your sisters ... don't they have a say in this? He didn't say anything but later in the evening he innocently (sure) asks them what they are planning to do with the Rakia? He asks but really is saying he wants it -- they said it was his to keep. They know what makes him happy. Rakija making is as traditional here as is winemaking to the italians and now my dad is a happy camper for sure. It is not my thing but I did taste it and it was smoooooooth ;0)
We ate supper outside tonite and had polenta with a veal sauce and those yummy green beans and of course a nice white wine accompanied the meal. Irma made a few phone calls and I updated the blog. I did a little reading on the places we will visit tomorrow. It should be interesting. Till then - doviđenja.