Every year as summer begins to wind down and the second Sunday of August approaches, we all instinctively know that day is reserved for our festival. It is a day that approaches quickly and may seem like the last thing we have time for in our busy lives. We may reflect and ask ourselves “Why do we still attend?” which is a question we all should ask ourselves.
Despite the complexity of our answer or justification in not attending, it really narrows down to because it is important. Our traditions are a critical piece of our culture that help form the structure and foundation of our families. We attend today because the familiarity contributes to a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings us together to focus on our relationships with our family and community. Tradition is not just attending the festival. It is making the recipes that were handed down to us in our own kitchens and gathering to create lasting memories with our family over a meal.
Our festival represents the ties that bind us – within our own families, our Italian heritage, and our ancestors before us. We participate each year in a ritual of attending mass and partaking in the Procession to honor our patron Sant’ Ippolito. These rituals are sacred because we choose to participate together not just because they exist. By pausing from our busy lives to engage in cultural events like the festival, we are forced to look beyond ourselves and to the world of others, to that which we came from, reminding us of our connection to something larger than ourselves. To readily dismiss tradition because years have passed, or it no longer looks the same is to discount the perspective and wisdom of our ancestors before us.
Our hope is that each person that attends the festival, will see it as an opportunity to remember and reinforce the values and beliefs that we hold dear and to remember how significant it is to attend every year. Thank you for your continued support each and every year!