Le Streghe di Campobasso....

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Postby Alessandra » 30 Apr 2007, 21:09

suanj wrote:The topic is inexact: the witches (= streghe) in the past , they were not to Campobasso but to Benevento town. the ignoring persons called witches and they burnt .... Perhaps, in truth, they were annoying persons for someone....
Liqueur typical of Benevento: http://www.strega.it/store/images/strega.jpg
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Re: Le Streghe di Campobasso....

Postby angelamascia » 11 Jul 2007, 14:23

Actually as suanj said previously the town of Benevento is known for its witches and the famous dance they were doing around a tree that is still today pictured on the label of the famous Liquore Strega. Furthermore, back then the city of Benevento was called Malevento or in Latin Maleventum venne, which in 275 BC was changed to Benevento or in Latin Beneventum.

Benevento is considered one of the oldest cities in Italy and according to some local legends the city was founded either by Diomedes (Diomede) or Ausonus (Ausone), a son of Ulysses (Ulisse) and Circe.

The Liquore Strega is actually brewed with over 70 different herbs since 1860. One may think that it is a witch brew.....
If you want to learn more about the history of the city of Benevento (my family is from that region) then you can on the city's web site at:

www.comune.benevento.it/ComuneBN/storia.htm

The web site is in Italian.

Ciao, Angela
Surnames: Mascia, Iapozzuto, Piacquadio, Iacobacci
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Re: Le Streghe di Campobasso....

Postby daveferro » 13 Jul 2007, 07:45

This topic certainly has certainly come up here lately. My cousin said his mother used to "cure" mal'occhia and sometimes one woman used to call her three times a day for help. It was passed down from her mother, my grandmother from Sant' Elia a Pianisi, and my aunt was supposed to pass it to my cousin.

The one time I saw her doing anything like this, she ran into the kitchen very excited and was washing her horn necklace in the sink, saying something in Italian. Another cousin told me today that they had all this on paper; I would love to see that, as so much has been found so far in the attic and basement.

My cousin also told me today that her mother made her put a rorasy on the doorknob when she got married, to keep rain away. It rained anyway.


My mother also told me about the oil and water test, that it did somehow mixed. I'm going to ask some more about this.

I found many more practices in "Italian-American Folklore" by Frances Malpezzi and William M. Clement. They have chapters on food, folk medicine and storytelling, among others, and a big bibliography.

Dave
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Re: Le Streghe di Campobasso....

Postby angelamascia » 13 Jul 2007, 16:10

daveferro,

I'm surprised to hear the rosary on the doorknow thing because where my family is from (Colle Sannita, Benevento) they say....

sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata....

which means that if it rains on your wedding day it is supposed to bring good luck.

My father also knew how to do the mal'occhio but I never wanted to know anything about it.

Angela M.
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Re: Le Streghe di Campobasso....

Postby daveferro » 14 Jul 2007, 07:34

Angela,

That's funny, because we thought rain is what was supposed to be avoided. My mother, who is 93, said she never heard of the rosary on the doorknob. I'll have to ask my cousin if her mother meant it to prevent or cause rain. Perhaps it worked as she wished if she knew the same saying as you quoted.

The book I mentioned has this under Folk Supernaturalism, not Superstition; I wonder why they did so. Just in case it's real...

We third generation did not hear much about the mal'occhio; even my mother did not say much or use any charms or chants in the house. Yet my aunt was to pass it on to my younger cousin. Like you, she was not interested, being fully in the American life.

Still, the sources of this are fascinating, going back thousands of years, and the Church could not erase them.

Dave
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Re: Le Streghe di Campobasso....

Postby angelamascia » 14 Jul 2007, 16:15

Dave,

It would be interesting to know what your cousin remembers about the rosary on the doorknob. Oftentimes, each town used to have different customs and sayings. I will be very intersted to know about this.

Regarding the mal'occhio I remember my father taking a dish or cup putting some water in it and using a few drops of olive oil (or course only olive oil was used.....) and then whispering several words which should chase away the spell somebody put on you. Ususally the headache would ease within minutes. If you believed it or not, one thing was for certain - IT WORKED!!!

This was somewhat intriguing but at the same time scary and therefore I took a step back and had too much respect for these things to wanting to be a part of it.

I guess over the years I grew more skeptical of these types of things and today my sister and I both don't know how to do it.

Please let me know what you can find out about the saying of the bride.

Angela
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Re: Le Streghe di Campobasso....

Postby daveferro » 15 Jul 2007, 07:39

Angela,

Strangely enough, I mentioned the rosary idea to our neighbor who is going to Florida to her son's wedding and she said she was talking to another friend of ours and he suggested putting the rosary on the door knob to prevent the rain. She really laughed at the coincidence. Feels like something cosmic is going on.

Rosemary has more info, I'm sure, and if Stan's mother wrote all this down like she says, it would be a treasure. Stan has found all kinds of things in the attic and basement, from passports, to our grandfather's Italian Army discharge papers to my father's diary from WWII when he was in the Philippines.

I told my mother about the saying but she said she only knew that it was supposed to prevent rain. Interesting. Looking back at your message, though, the saying is separate from the rosary thing.

Yes, my mother said the same about the olive oil and water. Also the people in that book about Italian-American Folklore also said the same as you: who knows if it is real, but the headache, etc. was cured.

My mother also said there were three other charms along with the corno that they wore. In one picture of her and her sister when they were toddlers, they are wearing them. We're going to have to enlarge the pic to see it better.

I will let you know asap

Dave
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Re: Le Streghe di Campobasso....

Postby daveferro » 28 Jul 2007, 07:45

Still reading the Italian-American Folklore book, esp. the chapter on Supernaturalism. There are references to Campanian and Sicilian practices but nothing so far about Campobasso.

There is a page in a book called Herculaneum Italy's Buried Treasure by Joseph Jay Deiss that describes a snack bar that had the typical good luck charms such as Priapic figures but also "a painting of a large jug, and a female figure carrying a purse and a little bell. All were believed to be effective against the Evil Eye." My mother said one of the charms she wore besides the corno, was a key.

Angela,

As far as the rosary on the doorknob, only my cousin's mother and our aunt Carrie seem to have practiced this. I asked my mother and aunts and they heard of this but never did it. When I see my aunt, I will ask her about all this but I feel I should respect any secrecy she may have sworn to. There are chants and sayings in the book and more references in the bibliography.

There are some sayings like:
"L'uomo di venotto; la donna diciotto" The man 28; the woman 18.
which made sense in other times as did many children, due to child mortality rates. Most of my relatives were one or two years apart and my paternal grandfather was six years younger than my grandmother.

Some beliefs seem common sense like keeping windows closed at night, even in summer, since night air was deemed dangerous. They did not have screens then, and mosquito borne diseases would be dangerous.

Others sound like someone is playing a joke, but they could cause a young woman (there do not seem to be comparable ones for men) to comtemplate the type of husband she wanted.

For young women wanting a husband,
"...on Saint John's Eve (23 June), a girl should put an egg white in a bottle of water. If this was left outdoors, the next morning the bottle would contain an image of her husband."

Another quote, though, is...
"Or two young women could bake an egg on Halloween. Each should eat half the yolk, then fill the empty cavity with salt, and eat all of that. If they walked backwards to bed, they would dream of their future spouses bringing them glasses of water." page 71

A Sicilian lullaby:
La pechalita mia,
Se brusha care,
Yo vogya par besada,
Su mama more.

(My darling little baby,
My heart is breaking,
And when I want to kiss her,
Her mama will scold me."
page 57 and I am not sure what the meaning is. There is also one from the Piedmont

I seem to be spending a lot of time in the food chapter.

More to come,
Dave
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