Wednesday, September 19, 2007

San Gennaro

The 80th Annual San Gennaro festival is going on right now, which is something I always manage to get to for an evening. There's always something to see, from the clown dumping booth, to carnival games, to the man walking around with his birds and snakes, and his counterpart, the man walking around with a cat sitting contentedly on his head.

The real draw though, is the food. All the Italian restaurants in Little Italy set up outdoor tables under an awning and there are food booths selling mostly a mix of Italian and fair food. The street smells like Italian sausage and zeppole, but there's also mozzarepas and and cannoli and seafood, and countless other things. You can feel your arteries clogging just looking at it all, but it certainly looks and smells delicious.

Today was also the day of the Procession, in which they carry a statue of San Gennaro through the street and a band (or two) plays.
It feels almost old world compared to the mix of tacky (yet fun) that makes up the rest of the festival. Even though I've been going to the festival for years, I'd never actuallly been there on the night of the procession before. History was one of my majors in college, and I remember learning about these things, which are a very old tradition, in a class I took on the middle ages, so it was neat to see. As far as I know it's the only religious aspect of what is purportedly a religious festival, and I can't say it seems particularly holy. Then again, I can't say that I particularly care about holiness, so that wasn't really a problem for me. Or, seemingly, for anyone else there.