I am just reading this now and it is brining back lots of memoires of my grandparents. My mom, first gen American, said she was married before she knew the English . My father, god rest his soul, would say “gabbagul” and “ supra Every time I meet people from Italy they tell me it is an ethnic insult. Ethnicity and Political Behavior: Italians in an Urban Milieu 6 . We need to know more fully and accurately what has happened to Italian .. mainland did not exist until and, as the graph shows, emigration from the Sicilian fore the war with cash once again left (for nearby Parma or for distant New York) to find. View credits, reviews, tracks and shop for the Vinyl release of Until We Meet Again on Discogs.
Unlucky for some: Thirteen strange Italian superstitions - The Local
Each day required long walks to family plots, adding to the toil that framed daily lives. Families typically worked as collective units to ensure survival. Angelo Pellegrini, who became a successful immigrant, remembered his sharecropping family: Education beyond the third grade was out of the question At eight or nine years of age, if not sooner, the peasant child is old enough to bend his neck to the yoke and fix his eyes upon the soil in which he must grub for bread. I did not know it then, but I know it now, that is a cruel, man-made destiny from which there is yet no immediate hope of escape.
The impact of unification on the South was disastrous. The new constitution heavily favored the North, especially in its tax policies, industrial subsidies, and land programs. The hard-pressed peasantry shouldered an increased share of national expenses, while attempting to compete in markets dominated more and more by outside capitalist intrusions.Until We Meet Again (Hani's Heavenly Vocal Mix)
These burdens only exacerbated existing problems of poor soil, absentee landlords, inadequate investment, disease, and high rates of illiteracy. With cruel irony, as livelihoods became increasingly precarious, population totals soared. Italy jumped from 25 million residents in to 33 million in to more than 35 million indespite the massive migration already underway. Commencing in the regions of Calabria, Campania, Apulia, and Basilicata, and spreading after to Sicily, Italian emigration became a torrent of humanity.
Frommore than 4. Despite these massive numbers, it should be noted that roughly two-thirds of Italian migration went elsewhere, especially to Europe and South America. Immigration to the United States before and after this period accounted for approximately one million additional arrivals—a considerable movement in its own right—but the era of mass migration remains central to the Italian immigrant experience.
Yet, there were important precursors. Italian explorers and sailors venturing outward in the employ of other nations touched America in its earliest beginnings. The most famous was, of course, Christopher Columbus, a Genoese mariner sailing for Spain. After the American Revolution, a small flow of largely northern-Italian skilled artisans, painters, sculptors, musicians, and dancers came to the new nation, filling economic niches. With the failure of the early nineteenth-century liberal revolutions, these immigrants were joined by a trickle of political refugees, the most famous of whom was Giuseppe Garibaldi.
By the second half of the century, American cities also typically included Italian street entertainers, tradesmen, statuette makers, and stone workers, who often established the first beachheads of settlement for the migrations to come.
Many of these pioneers were merely extending generationsold migratory patterns that had earlier brought them through Europe. An old Italian proverb instructed: Chi esce riesce He who leaves succeeds. This initial Italian movement dispersed widely throughout America, but its numbers were too small to constitute a significant presence. Bythe heaviest concentration was in Louisiana only peoplethe result of Sicilian migration to New Orleans and its environs.
Within a decade, California contained the highest total of any state—a mere 2,—and New York, soon to become home to millions of Italian immigrants, counted 1, Everything changed with mass migration, the first phase of which consisted primarily of temporary migrants—"sojourners"—who desired immediate employment, maximum savings, and quick repatriation.
The movement was predominately composed of young, single men of prime working age who clustered in America's urban centers.
Multiple trips were commonplace and ties to American society, such as learning English, securing citizenship, and acquiring property, were minimal. With eyes focused on the old-world paese villagea total of at least half of the sojourners returned to Italy, although in some years rates were much higher.
Such mobility earned Italians the sobriquet "birds of passage," a label that persisted until women and families began to migrate and settlement became increasingly permanent in the years following Migrants brought with them their family-centered peasant cultures and their fiercely local identifications, or campanilismo. They typically viewed themselves as residents of particular villages or regions, not as "Italians. The proliferation of narrowly based mutual aid societies and festas feste, or feast days honoring local patron saints were manifestations of these tendencies.
Gradually, as immigrants acclimated to the American milieu, in which others regarded them simply as Italians, and as they increasingly interacted with fellow immigrants, campanilismo gave way to a more national identity. Group-wide organization and identity, nonetheless, have always been difficult to achieve. Using kin and village-based chain migration networks to form "Little Italies," they clustered heavily in cities in the Northeast region the Mid-Atlantic and New England states and the Midwest, with outposts in California and Louisiana.
These patterns largely hold true today, although immigrants have branched out to locations such as Arizona and Florida. In every settlement area, there has been, over time, a slow but steady shift from central cities to suburbs. Immigrants often sought out Little Italies as a result of the hostility they encountered in American society. As a despised minority rooted in the working class and seemingly resistant to assimilation, Italians suffered widespread discrimination in housing and employment.
American responses to the immigrants occasionally took uglier forms as Italians became the victims of intimidation and violence, the most notorious incident being the lynching of 11 Italians in New Orleans. Italian mass migration coincided with the growth of a nativism that identified southern and eastern Europeans as undesirable elements. Inspired by the pseudo-scientific findings of eugenics and social Darwinism, turn-of-the-century nativists often branded southern Italians as especially inferior.
Powerful stereo-types centering on poverty, clannishness, illiteracy, high disease rates, and an alleged proclivity toward criminal activities underscored the view that southern Italians were a degenerate "race" that should be denied entry to America. Criticism of Italians became integral to the successful legislative drives to enact the nativist Literacy Test in and National Origins Acts in and Within Little Italies, immigrants created New World societies.
A network of Italian language institutions—newspapers, theaters, churches, mutual aid societies, recreational clubs, and debating societies— helped fuel an emerging Italian-American ethnic culture. Aspects of the folk, popular, and high culture intermixed in this milieu yielding an array of entertainment options.
Saloons or club buildings in larger urban centers often featured traditional puppet and marionette shows while immigrant men sipped wines and played card games of mora, briscola, and tresette. By the early s, a lively Italian language theater brought entertainment to thousands and sustained the careers of professional acting troupes and noted performers such as the comedic genius Eduardo Migliacco, known as "Farfariello. Italian opera was a staple in most American urban centers, and working-class Italian music halls attracted customers by offering renditions of Neapolitan or Sicilian songs and dances.
Band performances and choral recitals were regularly staged on the streets of Italian settlements. Although illiteracy rates among immigrants often ran well above 50 percent, newcomers in larger cities had access to Italian language bookstores stocked with poetry, short stories, novels, and nonfiction.
In one New York bookseller published a catalogue of pages to advertise his merchandise. The cultural patterns of Little Italies were constantly evolving, providing for a dynamic interplay between older forms brought from Italy and new inventions forged in the United States. Many immigrants attempted to recreate old-world celebrations and rituals upon arrival in the United States, but those that directly competed with American forms soon fell away. The celebration of Epiphany January 6for example, was the principal Christmas time festivity in Italy, featuring the visit of La Befana, a kindly old witch who brought presents for children.
Even those cultural forms more sheltered from American society were contested. Immigrant settlements were not homogenous entities. Various members of the community fought for the right to define the group, and the ongoing struggle for dominance invariably employed cultural symbols and events.
It's like in heaven. You don't know what it is. You're so happy there in America. The commercial and political elites prominenti — usually aided by the Italian Catholic clergy—sought to promote Italian nationalism as a means of self-advancement.
These forces invested great energy in celebrations of Italian national holidays such as venti di settembre, which commemorated Italian unificationand in the erection of statues of such Italian heroes as Columbus, the poet Dante, and military leader Giuseppe Garibaldi.
These activities were challenged by a variety of leftist radicals sovversiviwho sought very different cultural and political goals. Anarchists, socialists, and syndicalists such as Carlo Tresca and Arturo Giovannitti considered Italian Americans as part of the world proletariat and celebrated holidays Primo Maggio —May Day and heroes Gaetano Bresci, the assassin of Italian King Umberto reflecting this image.
These symbols also played roles in mass strikes and worker demonstrations led by the radicals. Meanwhile, the majority of Italian Americans continued to draw much of their identity from the peasant cultures of the old-world paese. Columbus Day, the preeminent Italian American ethnic celebration, typically blended elements of all these components, with multiple parades and competing banquets, balls, and public presentations. World War I proved an ambiguous interlude for Italian immigrants.
Italy's alliance with the United States and the service of many immigrants in the U. The war also produced, however, countervailing pressures that generated more intense nationalism among Italians and powerful drives toward assimilation—" percent Americanism"—in the wider society. Immigration restrictions after halted Italian immigration, although the foreign-born presence remained strong the census recorded 1, Italian-born residents— the group's historic high. As new arrivals slowed and the second generation matured during the s and s, the group changed.
Several critical developments shaped the character of Italian America during the interwar years. National prohibition provided lucrative illegal markets, which some Italian Americans successfully exploited through bootlegging operations.
During the s, the "gangster" image of Italians exemplified by Al Capone was perpetuated through films and popular literature. The celebrated case of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti further molded the group's national image, underwriting the conception of Italians as dangerous radicals. The Great Depression overshadowed earlier economic gains, often forcing Italian Americans back into their family-centered ethnic communities. Here, the emerging second generation found itself in frequent conflict with the first.
Heavily influenced by the traditional contadino culture passed on from their parents, the second generation uneasily straddled two worlds. Traditional notions of proper behavior, stressing collective responsibilities toward the family, strict chastity and domestic roles for females, rigid chaperonage and courting codes, and male dominance, clashed with the more individualist, consumer-driven American values children learned in schools, stores, and on the streets.
Problems of marginality, lack of self-esteem, rebellion, and delinquency were the outcomes. Partly because of these dynamics, the community structures of Little Italies began to change. The more Americanized second generation began to turn away from older, Italian-language institutions founded by immigrants, many of which collapsed during the depression.
Italian theaters and music halls, for example, largely gave way to vaudeville, nickelodeons, organized sports, and radio programming. During the s and s, these transformations were also influenced by Benito Mussolini's fascist regime, which sponsored propaganda campaigns designed to attract the support of Italian Americans. The prominenti generally supported these initiatives, often inserting fascist symbols the black shirtsongs "Giovinezza"—the fascist anthemand holidays the anniversary of the March on Rome into the ichnography and pageantry of America's Little Italies.
A small, but vocal, anti-fascist element existed in opposition, and it substituted counter values and emblems. Memorials to Giacomo Matteotti, a socialist deputy murdered by fascists, and renditions of Bandiera Rossa and Inno di Garibaldi became fixtures of anti-fascist festivities.
Thus, the cultural world of Italian America remained divided. Any questions concerning loyalties to the United States were firmly answered when Italy declared war on the United States inand Italian Americans rushed to aid the American struggle against the Axis powers.
More thanItalian Americans joined the U. The war effort and ensuing anti-communist crusade stressed conformity, loyalty, and patriotism, and in the s and s it appeared that Italian Americans had comfortably settled into the melting pot.
The second generation especially benefited from its war service and the postwar economic expansion as it yielded new levels of acceptance and integration. In the s, they experienced substantial social mobility and embraced mass consumerism and middle-class values. A large percentage came shortly after passage of the Immigration Act ofat which time yearly totals of Italian immigrants averaged about 23, Beginning inthe numbers steadily declined as a result of improved economic conditions in Italy and changing policies in other immigrant-receiving nations.
In only 3, Italian immigrants were admitted to the United States, butItalian-born residents remained in the country, guaranteeing that Italian language and culture are still part of the American cultural mosaic.
Acculturation and Assimilation Assimilation takes place at many different levels, but for the individual, it is likely that few captured the essence of the experience better than Rosa Cavalleri. Cavalleri came from the Italian town of Cuggiono in as a frightened young woman, joining her husband in a mining camp in remote Missouri. After undergoing numerous tribulations, Cavalleri settled in Chicago, where she cleaned floors and bathrooms, while remarrying and successfully raising a family.
As Cavalleri neared death inshe mused: I'd love to go in Italia again before I die. Now I speak English good like an American I could go anywhere—where millionaires go and high people. I would look the high people in the face and ask them questions I'd like to know.
I wouldn't be afraid now—not of anybody. I'd be proud I come from America and speak English. I would go to Bugiarno [Cuggiono] and see the people and talk to the bosses in the silk factory I could talk to the Superiora now. You think you'll go to heaven like that? I wouldn't be afraid. They wouldn't hurt me now I come from America.
Italian ghost town comes back to life for international hide and seek championship
Me, that's why I love America. That's what I learned in America: The Life of an Italian Immigrant. University of Minnesota Press, ; p. The integration of Italians like Cavalleri into American life was a result of changes in both the group and the larger society. Italians were beginning to make a commitment to permanent settlement. This process was substantially underway bycresting in the s when new immigration fell off.
After this, perpetuation of the old-world public culture became increasingly difficult, although the family-based value structure was more resilient.
During the s and s, the second generation continued to display many of its hallmarks: Changing contexts, however, diminished the "social distance" separating Italians from other Americans. In the s, second-generation Italian Americans joined forces with others in labor unions and lobbied for benefits.
They also began to make political gains as part of the Democratic Party's New Deal coalition. Also for the first time, the national popular culture began to include Italian Americans among its heroes.
Their wholehearted support of America's cause and their disproportionately high ratio of service in the military legitimized them in American eyes. The war also transformed many Little Italies, as men and women left for military service or to work in war industries. Upon their return, many newly affluent Italian Americans left for suburban locations and fresh opportunities, further eroding the institutions and contadino culture that once thrived in ethnic settlements.
The Cold War pushed the group further into the mainstream as Italian Americans joined in the anti-communist fervor gripping the nation. Simultaneously, structural changes in the economy vastly expanded the availability of white collar, managerial positions, and Italian Americans jumped to take advantage. Beginning in the s, they pursued higher education in greater numbers than ever before, many receiving aid as a result of the G.
Such developments put them into more immediate and positive contact with other Americans, who exhibited greater acceptance in the postwar years. Ironically, a resurgent Italian American ethnicity emerged at the same time, as the group experienced increasing integration into the larger society. Italian Americans were active participants in the ethnic revival of the s and s. As American core values came under assault in the midst of Vietnam, Watergate, and the rising counterculture, and the nation's urban centers became torn by riots and civil protest, Italian Americans felt especially vulnerable and besieged.
Unlike other ethnic groups, they had remained in urban enclaves, manifesting high rates of home owner-ship, where they now found themselves in contact and conflict with African Americans. Many interpreted the ensuing clashes in cultural terms, seeing themselves as an embattled minority defending traditional values in the face of new compensatory government programs.
In response, ethnic traditions surrounding family, neighborhood, and homes gained heightened visibility and strength. New Italian American organizations and publications fostering ethnic identity came into being, and many old rituals experienced a resurgence, most notably the celebration of the feste.
Intermarriage rates increased after the s, especially among the third and fourth generations who were now coming of age. Bythe group's overall in-marriage rate was just under 33 percent, above the average of 26 percent for other ethnic groups. But among those born after —by now a majority—the rate was only 20 percent, and these marriages crossed both ethnic and religious lines. Once a marginalized, despised minority, Italian Americans are now among the most highly accepted groups according to national surveys measuring "social distance" indicators Italians ranked fourteenth inbut fifth in All of the statistical data point to a high level of structural assimilation in American society, although Italian American ethnicity has not disappeared.
That Italian American identity has lost much of its former negative weight is suggested further by recent census figures for ancestry group claiming. The census recorded By this figure had risen to Despite strong evidence of integration, Italian Americans retain distinguishing characteristics. They are still geographically concentrated in the old settlement areas, and they display a pronounced attachment to the values of domesticity and family loyalty.
Italian Americans still rely heavily on personal and kin networks in residential choices, visiting patterns, and general social interaction. Perhaps most distinctive, the group continues to suffer from stereotypes associating it with criminal behavior, especially in the form of organized crime and the mafia. These images have persisted despite research documenting that Italian Americans possess crime rates no higher than other segments of American society and that organized crime is a multi-ethnic enterprise.
Television and film images of Italian Americans continue to emphasize criminals, "lovable or laughable dimwits" who engage in dead-end jobs, and heavy-accented, obese "Mamas" with their pasta pots. These representations have influenced the movement of Italian Americans into the highest levels of corporate and political life. The innuendos of criminal ties advanced during Geraldine Ferraro's candidacy for vice-president in and during Mario Cuomo's aborted presidential bids illustrate the political repercussions of these stereotypes, and many Italian Americans believe that bias has kept them underrepresented in the top echelons of the business world.
Since the s, such organizations as the Americans of Italian Descent, the Sons of Italy in America, and the National Italian American Foundation have mounted broad-based anti-defamation campaigns protesting such negative imagery. The principal occasions of public celebration typically revolve around Columbus Day, the quintessential Italian American national holiday, and the feste honoring patron saints. In both cases, these events have, in general, become multi-day celebrations virtually devoid of any religious or Italian national connotation, involving numerous non-Italians.
In New Orleans, Louisiana, St. Joseph's Day March 19 is celebrated by some members of the Italian-American community. The day was commemorated by the building of temporary three-tiered alters, loaded with food offerings for the saint. The alters were found in private homes, churches, some restaurants, and public places associated with Italians, with the general public invited.
Visitors to the alters are often given lagniappe a sack of cookies and fava beans, a good luck charm to take home. Joseph's Day began several weeks in advance with baking of cookies, breads and cakes. Cookies, such as twice-baked biscotti and sesame-seed varieties, could be shaped into forms with religious significance. Bread, cannoli, seafood and vegetable dishes are also found on the alter.
Such dishes include forschias and pasta Milanese covered with mudriga. Mudriga was also called St. Joseph's sawdust, made of bread crumbs and sugar. No meat was found because the holiday almost always falls during Lent.
In addition to food, the alter often had an image of St. Joseph, home grown flowers, candles and palm branches. Italian immigrants utilized traditional costumes, folk songs, folklore, and dances for special events, but like many aspects of Italian life, they were so regionally specific that they defy easy characterization. Perhaps the most commonly recognized folk dance, the tarantella, for example, is Neapolitan, with little diffusion elsewhere in the peninsula.
Most peasants consumed simple meals based on whatever vegetables or grains lentils, peas, fava beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, and wild greens were prevalent in each region. A staple for most common folk was coarse black bread.
Pasta was a luxury, and peasants typically ate meat only two or three times a year on special holidays. Italian cuisine was—and still is—regionally distinctive, and even festive meals varied widely. The traditional Christmas dish in Piedmont was agnolotti ravioliwhile anguille eels were served in Campania, sopa friulana celery soup in Friuli, and bovoloni fat snails in Vicenza. In the United States, many immigrants planted small backyard garden plots to supplement the table and continued to raise cows, chickens, and goats whenever possible.
Outdoor brick ovens were commonplace, serving as clear ethnic markers of Italian residences. With improved economic conditions, pastas, meats, sugar, and coffee were consumed more frequently. One New York City immigrant remembered asking, "Who could afford to eat spaghetti more than once a week [in Italy]? In America no one starved, though a family earned no more than five or six dollars a week Don't you remember how our paesani here in America ate to their hearts delight till they were belching like pigs, and how they dumped mountains of uneaten food out the window?
We were not poor in America; we just had a little less than others. Rowman and Littlefield, ; p. Spaghetti and meatballs not generally known in Italy and pizza are perhaps the quintessential Italian dishes in the United States. More recently, northern Italian cooking— characterized by rice risotto and corn polenta dishes and butter-based recipes—has become increasingly common in homes and restaurants. Garlic aglioolive oil olio d'olivamushrooms funghiand nuts nochi of various types are common ingredients found in Italian cooking.
Wine vinoconsumed in moderate amounts, is a staple. Overall, Italian dishes have become so popular that they have been accepted into the nation's dietary repertoire, but not in strictly old-world forms. Americanized dishes are generally milder in their spicing and more standardized than old-world fare.
Recent research has demonstrated the fallacy of this belief, however, and contributions have largely ceased. Language Italian is a Romance language derived directly from Latin; it utilizes the Latin alphabet, but the letters "j," "k," "w," "x," and "y" are found only in words of foreign origin. Numerous dialects were the dominant linguistic feature during the years of mass immigration.
Italian dialects did not simply possess different tonalities or inflections. Some were languages in their own right, with separate vocabularies and, for a few, fully developed literatures e. Italy's mountainous terrain produced conditions in which proximate areas often possessed mutually unintelligible languages. Similarly, "children" in Italian is bambini, but it becomes cit in Piedomontese, fruz in Friulian, guagliuni in Neapolitan, zitedi in Calabrian, and picciriddi in Sicilian.
Thus, language facilitated campanilismo, further fragmenting the emerging Italian American world. Very soon after the Italians' arrival, all dialects became infused with Americanisms, quickly creating a new form of communication often intelligible only to immigrants. The new patois was neither Italian nor English, and it included such words as giobba for job, grossiera for grocery, bosso for boss, marachetta for market, baccausa for outhouse, ticchetto for ticket, bisiniss for business, trocco for truck, sciabola for shovel, loffare for the verb to loaf, and carpetto for carpet.
To ward off the evil eye you should make a gesture similar to horns and point it downwards behind your back. Some Italians take things a step further and wear a lucky amulet shaped like a horn. Touch iron If you're from the UK or US, you might be used to saying 'touch wood' or 'knock on wood' after saying something that might tempt misfortune. In Italy, look for some iron - 'toccare ferro' is an abbreviation from 'toccare ferro di cavallo' touch horseshoe which dates back to when horseshoes were thought to ward off devils, witches and evil spirits.
These days, superstitious Italians might still carry a horseshoe charm or a simple piece of iron around with them, just in case. Italian folklore warns that straying from this rule could spell the end of the friendship. Black cats In some cultures, black cats are thought to bring good luck, but it's quite the opposite in Italy, where they are considered unlucky due to associations with witchcraft.
In fact, thousands of black felines are killed every year by superstitious Italians, leading animal rights' organizations to declare November 17th Black Cats Day, in order to raise awareness of the pets' plight and combat superstition. Hearing a cat sneeze, on the other hand, brings good luck. Unlucky if you see him, lucky if you hear him sneeze.
Here's how to do the Italian cheek kiss Sharp objects If you receive something sharp such as a penknife as a gift, prick the person who gave it to you, or give them a coin in return. If you fail to do this, you risk ruining the friendship forever. Beds It is believed that if you put a photo of a loved one on a bed -- for example while tidying, packing or doing housework -- this will bring them bad luck. Meanwhile, placing a hat on a bed is unlucky too.
These beliefs date back to a time when beds were associated with illness and death, and priests would remove their hats when arriving to visit someone in their sickbed. The leaning tower of Pisa Local students avoid the monument -- and not just because it's overrun with tourists. Tradition states that if you go to the top of the famous leaning tower whilst you are at university, then you will never be able to graduate.
Several cities and towns around the country have their own version of this superstition: Simply touch your nose immediately and the bad luck will be undone.