and Events - January 2015
Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo
During this period of the traditional 12 days of
Christmas we want to take an opportunity to express
our wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
We also want to acknowledge and share the good
wishes and joyous feelings of the season that were
received from Society friends and members including:
Presidente Nicola Benedetto, Basilicata Regione;
l’Amministrazione Comunale and Pino Lacicerchia,
Sindaco of Craco; Marco Lategana, Noeltan Film
Studio (producers of Montedoro, a film by Antonello
Faretta); Ann Pirozzi, Antonio Rinaldi and Family.
With the New Year we look forward to the plans for
the Society in 2015.
We will continue describing the Cracotan experience
in North America making sure we preserve the history
of the immigrant migration and assimilation that
occurred in two waves, between 1880-1924 and with a
special focus on the second wave that came in the
mid20th century after the Frana.
As part of this, we will be researching census data
from Italy that provides information about our
ancestors in Craco between 1881 and 1921.
Of course we will be organizing our annual reunion
and also looking into a return trip to Craco.
The Cracotan tradition of celebrating the feast of
San Vincenzo Martire in New York City for the 114th
year on October 25, 2015 will happen but the venue
and details are still unclear.
As we close the year we would be remiss if we didn’t
thank the membership, volunteers, and friends who
support the Society’s efforts and do its work
without compensation throughout the year. It
is their contributions that makes our small
organization vibrant and robust allowing us to
We extend our best wishes to all for a:
HAPPY & PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!
President’s New Year Message
As we move into 2015, a year that represents an
opportunity for your Society to make changes to
adjust to external events, I thought it would be
important to tell you about our plans.
a virtual organization with 474 members and their
families spread out through North America and
Europe, we feel it is important to get as much of
the material we’ve preserved since our founding in a
format that will make it available to everyone. The
internet fulfills that need and also helps to serve
as a warehouse to store it for the future. We may
explore ways to refresh our website so you, your
children and grandchildren will be able to know
about the people of Craco and their rich history.
Complementing this will be an effort to obtain
additional public record census information about
Craco from Italy. This will help fill in details
about the history of the Cracotan families
inhabiting North America. Besides adding details
about genealogy it also makes information that is
locked away in archival vaults available to the
people who care about it.
Caring is imbedded in our mission to preserve the
history, culture and traditions of Craco and its
people in North America and it will continue to
drive us this year.
We are looking into a trip back to Craco that
includes travel throughout Basilicata which will
connect us to our roots.
We will also continue our practice of holding our
Annual Reunion, an event that is always full of
energy, vitality and a warmth that rejuvenates us by
spending time together sharing stories of our
Since our founding, we embraced and supported the
celebration of the feast of San Vincenzo Martire in
New York City. This year will challenge us to
fulfill that tradition for the 114th time. Although
the details are unclear we are not dissuaded; after
all didn’t we get here from people who left
everything in Craco with no clear understanding of
what the future held but only had hope available to
Our chronicling of the history of the Crachesi in
North America will continue to complete the story
through the period that brought Cracotans here after
Since our founding we have been fortunate to have
dedicated members providing support through dues,
participation in events and also providing unique
and historic materials, photographs, and items for
us to preserve and share. It is humbling to realize
that these cherished family heirlooms and keepsakes
have been made available to us; they literally make
history tangible when we are able to touch items
used or created by our ancestors. It is one of the
things that makes the Society so special.
But I would be remiss if I did not tell you that we
may have to ask you for more in the way of
additional support as we deal with extraordinary
circumstances and expenses to address the changes we
anticipate. As these become clear we will share the
details with you and be specific about what we plan
to do so you will have continued confidence in our
Reflecting on our Society’s future please make sure
all your family members and Crachese friends are
aware of the Society and what we have that can help
them understand their background. And please
continue to participate in events so our
relationships and knowledge of each other keeps
On behalf of the Board of Directors I want to wish
you and your families a wonderful and prosperous New
The Society now has 474 members with the two newest
members born this year. This is about the same size
as the Crachese population in Lower New York around
1900. During the period between 18801891 before
Ellis Island was opened available records list 40
individuals from Craco entering New York Harbor.
From 1891 to 1901 records show an additional 381
immigrants arriving from Craco.
In 1899 this small group organized a mutual aid
society under the name, Societá S. Vincenzo
Martire di Craco, to help provide for their
paesani and also bring their culture to New York in
the form of the veneration of the town’s patron.
Their first organized celebration occurred in
October 1901 and continued for the 113th time this
During the next 13 years a surge of 897 Cracotans
joined those already in New York City swelling the
number to about 2,000 with the natural growth of
families already there.
They were mostly concentrated in the area called
Little Italy living in close proximity to each other
on streets including Baxter, Cherry, Roosevelt, Mott
There were a very small number of families living
just outside New York City in Brooklyn and across
the Hudson River in Jersey City, NJ but commuted to
New York to make their living.
It was in this period, the first Cracotan family
would move to western Canada from New York and
remain there until another family would join them
directly from Craco after the Frana in the 1960s.
Although “Note Storiche del Comune di Craco” tells
us immigrants from the town went to other countries
the Society is only aware of the Romano family who
emigrated to Argentina in the 1880s.
Although the town of Craco population never exceeded
2000 people we estimate the descendants of the
immigrants entering New York now number about 12,000
The Society’s objective in preserving the history,
culture and traditions of Craco and its people in
North America aims to reach all of them making sure
they are aware of their heritage and can pass it
Le Procession di Craco 2015 Calendar
The Society’s 2015 calendar displays scenes from
Craco Vecchio showing some of the processions held
there in the past. The photographs are part of the
Society’s collection of over 1000 images of the
town, which we believe is the largest assembly of
material about Craco in one place.
The images show the following procession events:
Top row, left to right: all Madonna della Stella
processions. Middle row, left to right: San
Vincenzo, San Nicola, Madonna della Stella, Madonna
della Stella. Bottom row: San Nicola, Madonna
del Monserrato, Madonna della Stella, Good Friday,
Good Friday, San Nicola (photo that spans 2 rows,
with 2015 heading).
Although these traditional events continue to be a
regular part of Italian culture and in many cases
draw growing attention in the media the practice of
them in the US seems to be in decline. This
dwindling support not only impacts Italian American
families with the loss of culture but also
impoverishes the population as a whole which loses
the cultural diversity that gives it vibrancy.
All members should have received their copy of the
calendar by now. Anyone wanting additional printed
copies can contact us at: email@example.com
An electronic version is also available on request.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
About our Christmas Card
The image on the Christmas card was created for the
Society by Garnet Armstrong (Frank Rinaldi’s
son-in-law) using software to extract the background
image of Largo Vittorio Emanuele II in Craco Vecchio
and insert the Nativity into the piazza to create a
unique “Cracotan Presepio.” The Society expresses
its gratitude and appreciation for Garnet’s efforts
and creativity on our behalf and for giving us this
heartwarming and imaginary scene during this magical
time of the year.
here to view
A Year in Craco. Events in Craco for
every month are listed. Thank you to Joe Rinaldi
in Canada for his contribution to this page.
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