The Feast Of Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel - A Glimpse of Me Blog at - 113771

A Glimpse of Me

The Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel 
Jul. 17, 2009 8:48 am 
Updated: Aug. 10, 2009 4:50 pm
Hello to my AR family!!

According to Catholic history, on July 16, 1251, the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock (or Friar Stock, as he was known at the time) on Mount Carmel in Israel.  Catholics around the world now commemorate this appearance each year on July 16th.  Some churches simply hold a special mass on that date, while other churches have a festival, somewhat like a street faire, that lasts the whole week in which July 16th falls.

When my father was a boy, his Catholic family lived in Astoria, a neighborhood of Queens in New York.  Every year on July 16th, they would attend the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the Bronx.  Their family made it a tradition to always eat pizza for dinner that evening while attending the festival and to have Italian ice for dessert.  After they moved to California when my father was a teenager, they couldn't find a church that celebrated July 16th other than holding a special mass, so they simply kept up the tradition of having pizza and Italian ices every year on that date.  My father continued that tradition in our family and still reminds my siblings and me a day or two in advance that "pizza day" is coming soon!  One year, when I was traveling with a carnival company for the summer, my father couldn't get in touch with me to remind me about July 16th...and I forgot about it.  But guess what!  When I talked to him a few days after that, I thought back and realized that I had eaten pizza for dinner that day anyway!  My subconscious must have known that I needed to continue the family tradition :-)

When my dad learned that my daughters and I would be in New York in the Bronx on July 16th this year, he asked me to check to see if Our Lady of Mount Carmel church still existed and if they still celebrated the appearance of the Virgin Mary on July 16th.  I was delighted to learn that they do still exist and the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a week-long festival now!  I was so excited, because my daughters and I would be able to attend an event that my dad had been to many times as a child...and at the same location he attended it!

Because I wanted to stay with our family's tradition, I took the girls to the festival yesterday, July 16th.  It was so much fun!  There were street vendors selling all kinds of trinkets.  Even though I couldn't afford to purchase much of anything, the girls and I had a great time looking at all the beautiful items offered for sale.  There was a small carnival, too, but the rides weren't running on weekdays.  I promised the girls we would try to go back today so they could ride the rides, even though there are only three of them.  They did get to play a game where they threw darts at balloons and were guaranteed a prize no matter what.  It cost me $10 for them to play, but they each got a really cute teddy bear that was probably worth close to $5.00, so it was worth what it cost to let them "win" it.

There was live entertainment, but it was a type of music we don't particularly enjoy, so after watching the band for a little while, we wandered back up the street and went to take a peek inside the church.  There was a mass in progress, so we just looked through the windows so we wouldn't interrupt the service.  It was beautiful!  I love how ornately decorated some Catholic churches are.  I know some other religions/denominations may call it ostentacious, but I like to think that the Catholics are trying their best to make God's house the most beautiful place they can, because He deserves nothing less than the very best we are able to give Him.

Last but not least...THE FOOD!!!  Oh my goodness!  I have never seen so much deliciousness packed into two short blocks in my entire life!  There was sausage and peppers, chicken and steak skewers, gyro sandwiches, roasted corn, ice cream, Italian ice, pizza, empanadas, fresh fruit smoothies, desserts beyond your wildest imagination, deep fried Oreos, and an Italian pastry called "Zeppola" (pronounced "TZEH-puh-luh"), which my grandmother used to make when my father was a child.  On one corner of the street was a pastry shop where we bought cannoli.  I hadn't had cannoli in about 5 years!  Thank goodness I don't have a credit card, because that pastry shop had so many delicious looking pastries and I wouldn't have been able to resist charging "just a few (hundred!)" LOL!  We stuffed ourselves so full of delicious, NON-nutritious goodies during the evening that we could barely make it to the bus stop to come back to the apartment...and yes, we did have pizza and Italian ices!  Maybe it was a GOOD thing the rides weren't running, huh?  LOL!

I have to say that this was one of the greatest highlights of our trip here to New York, second only to getting to spend the Fourth of July on Liberty Island, seeing the Statue of Liberty up close and personal...a day I promise to blog about soon.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I wish you and yours the very best in all your endeavors.


Jul. 17, 2009 10:19 am
i love traditions like that. your children will remember that day for a long time!
Jul. 17, 2009 11:45 am
I love, love, love festivals like that! I'm so glad you got to share this tradition with your kids! They'll remember it!
Jul. 17, 2009 12:53 pm
The food sounds delicious! What a nice tradition!
Jul. 17, 2009 2:10 pm
Keri, so glad you got to do that, not only for the girls, but for yourself too. It's a connection to your past and a sweet memory to hold.
Jul. 18, 2009 5:39 am
That sounds like so much fun!
Jul. 18, 2009 12:58 pm
That sounds like so much fun! I love festivals and wish there were more where I live. It's where so many memories are created.
Jul. 18, 2009 8:48 pm
It sounds like you are having a great time and creating some wonderful memories for your girls!
Jul. 18, 2009 9:35 pm
Sounds like a wonderful time. Reliving the past can be so cathartic. Your daughters will really appreciate the memories as they get older.
Jul. 19, 2009 5:04 am
That is a wonderful story. Love the idea that you and your girls could celebrate what your father did as a child. Tradition!!!!
Aug. 10, 2009 4:50 pm
That is so wonderful to have such lovely memories...for you, your dad, and your girls. I hope the tradition, the love of family and the love of your faith continues on for generations. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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About Me
I have loved cooking since I was a young girl helping my mother make dinner or bake cookies during school vacations. My favorite class in elementary school was "Nutrition", because we cooked almost every day. I have two daughters who love cooking and baking as much as I do and my husband is even getting interested. He recently started making bread from scratch and he's doing an awesome job of it! We share our home with pets of all different kinds, including birds, cats, dogs, rabbits, a rat, snakes, frogs, a tarantula, and a turtle. We also provide foster care for a local dog rescue, taking in abused, neglected, abandoned dogs and giving them a safe, loving environment to live in until they find their "fur-ever" homes.
My favorite things to cook
Rosemary garlic roasted chicken with roasted garlic gravy; Skillet cabbage; Almost any baked goods; Anything I can make in my slow cooker! Somewhere around September 2008 I decided I was going to start baking all the bread my children and I eat. I'm COMPLETELy loving it and my kids like to brag that "my mommy MADE this bread!" Their favorite is when I make bread items that aren't your traditional loaf of bread, like hamburger buns, bagels, and soft pretzels.
My favorite family cooking traditions
For several generations, my father's family has made a "family tradition" dessert item at each major holiday. At Easter, it's Italian Cheesecake, made with ricotta cheese and anise flavoring (published as "Italian Cheesecake II", if you'd like to check it out). At Thanksgiving, it's "Roly Polies", which were invented by my great grandmother when she had leftover pie crust dough she needed to use up. My absolute favorite, though, is Christmas, when we make Birds Nests. These are made out of walnut-sized balls of a sweet pie crust type dough rolled out very thin. Then we cut slits in the dough without cutting through the edge, gather every other strip, twist them up into a jumble, and then deep fry the pastries. When they are cooled, we sprinkle them with powdered sugar. It doesn't matter how many we make, they all get eaten!
My cooking triumphs
I managed to make decorated sugar cookies for Christmas 2008 that turned out awesome!! I've NEVER gotten sugar cookies to turn out good looking enough to warrant decorating them. They always turn into shapeless blobs. This particular time I reduced the amount of butter in the recipe by 25% and chilled the cut-outs for 15 minutes immediately before baking them. They turned out beautiful!
My cooking tragedies
My first attempt at making Fairy Food candy (also called seafoam candy) was a disaster! I tried cooking it too quickly over too high of heat, so it burned, smelling up the entire house for DAYS. Thank goodness I still had enough ingredients (and courage!) to try again, and everyone at my family's Christmas gathering was impressed with my second attempt. I conveniently "forgot" to tell them about the first batch :-)
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