The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is celebrated on 8 December in a number of countries including
where today has been a Public holiday. Italy
I do not know much about the celebrations but assume that the church has special services. There is a widespread misunderstanding of the term immaculate conception: many believe it refers to Mary's conception of Jesus, a confusion frequently met in the mass media. In the sense in which the phrase "Immaculate Conception" is used in Roman Catholic doctrine, it is not directly connected to the concept of Mary's "virginal conception" of the Incarnation of Christ. The Church celebrates the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December, exactly nine months before celebrating the Nativity of Mary. The feast of the Incarnation of Christ, also known as The Annunciation, is celebrated on 25 March, nine months before Christmas Day.
Many Italians took advantage of todays holiday by taking an extra day off yesterday, therefore creating a bridge (ponte) for the long weekend. Certainly Marta and Montefiascone have been very busy for the last couple of days with the Camper vans out in force.
Not really connected but I felt a suitable post for today as they look so special at this time of the year is the Persimmon Tree which I mentioned a few days ago as part of our Olive Oil tasting menu. http://lindyloumac.blogspot.com/2009/12/olive-oil-tasting.html
As some of you will already therefore realise we have our very own Persimmon tree just outside the kitchen which provides shade on our terrace during the summer. During the summer the fruit was hard and looked very similar to a large green apple, not good when they dropped off as part of the natural process, narrowly missing those seeking shade by sitting under the tree! The fruit gradually softens and changes colour from pale orange through to an almost tomato red orange colour. The redder they are the softer they are and you need to pick them and eat them at this stage as they do not seem to store for long. The done thing is to pick and enjoy for pranzo or cena straight from the tree. Despite loosing what seemed like hundreds during the ripening process it is still covered in what are now Orange Balls, just like Christmas Decorations. The art is in picking them before they drop on the terrace or a passing person if you are unlucky, by now a rather messy process. We have had some near misses but no direct strikes yet!
As you drive around the area you see lots of these trees now bare of leaves adding a Christmas feel to the landscape.
We know our neighbours enjoy the fruit and eat them regularly at this time of the year but wonder how many of those free Christmas Decorations are left on the trees as like us Italians generally find they are a fruit which is of very acquired taste, not something everyone enjoys by any means. We are still searching for the ideal use, so all suggestions and recipes welcome.
Meanwhile the birds enjoy the fruit and we appreciate its attractiveness!
This was what the fruit looked like at the end of August
Below is how the fruit was looking by October.
November showed the Persimmon tree in all its Autumn glory.
By mid November the leaves were dropping
Finally our very own Christmas Persimmon Tree