Annual Reunion and 112th San Vincenzo
Feast in New York
Electric! That’s how you could describe
the 7th Annual Reunion of the Crachesi del Nord America held
on Saturday October 26th. Members who turned out at Sirico’s
in Brooklyn were treated to not only great food and drink
but fantastic entertainment and of course, the best of
company. It seems that although the Society is "virtual"
with our members widely dispersed, whenever we gather the
conversations pick up where they left off.
Highlighting the event was music provided
by a paesano, Stefano Puntillo (DJ Stefano) who comes from
The following day, the 112th Feast of San
Vincenzo Martire di Craco in Manhattan unfolded to a
beautiful day. The turnout of Society members and local
parishioners of St. Joseph's Church were treated to the
spectacle of the special feast day Mass.
Among the legends surrounding San
Vincenzo in Craco is one about a neighboring village trying
to steal him by taking his relic. As they carried him the
weight of the relic became heavier and heavier until they
had to put it down on the roadside and could not pick it up.
When the townspeople of Craco found it they heard a voice
say, "Pick me up, bring me home and give me some music." The
annual celebration in Craco always includes music and those
at St. Joseph’s were treated to the spectacular voice of
soprano Susan Mello.
Accompanied by music from the historic
organ that supplied the same melodies to our ancestors at
St. Joachim’s Church since 1901 Susan included the unique
"Hymn to San Vincenzo Martire" in the selections.
Meanwhile, at the same time but with a
six hour difference, the San Vincenzo procession took place
San Vincenzo in Craco—A scene of
the S. Vincenzo procession in Craco held in the evening was
provided by Vincenzo Montemurro on the Society’s Facebook
Craco Immigrants from 1921-1924
Genetic Testing for Ancestry
The Society has been involved in
researching members’ genealogy since its formation. We have
built a database of family tree information from vital
records that includes over 1,000 individuals connected to
Many Society members have discovered
family relationship and connections to other members that
were forgotten or unknown. Most members suspect there are
more relationships between us but are unable to access
records that can link them back to a common ancestor.
Genetic testing offers a solution to this dilemma.
In an attempt to evaluate the value of
this new technology the Society’s Board members are engaging
in an independent experiment. By conducting genetic tests
through 23andme.com they hope to be able to identify
relationships and ancestry amongst them. Results should be
available by year end.
If the results prove useful there might
be an opportunity for the Society to sponsor a project using
this as a way to explore and identify common ancestry.
The Finest of the Amari
Vi posso offrire un amaro? Or, "Can I
offer you an amaro?" is the single most reassuring phrase to
be heard at the conclusion of a meal in Italy.
Amaro (translated as "sour" or "bitter")
is as much part of Italy’s culinary playlist as espresso,
pizza and gelato. It represents a much loved excuse to
prolong the eating experience among friends and family and
evokes all the free in spirit lifestyle associations we make
with Italy, such as spontaneous trattoria sing-alongs and
soccer sound offs. Better still, because these herb and root
based liqueurs are believed to offer various (if minor)
medical benefits, some maintain that a thimble sized glass
of amaro is good for you.
amaro is produced both commercially and noncommercially in
Italy’s 20 regions, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of
amaros made in Italy. From this vast population of styles
and tastes, only a few dozen are currently imported to the
Once discovered in America by "mixologists"
they have become more than an apéritif or digestif.
The unique flavoring from the herbs in the liquor make for
excellent ingredients in newly fashioned cocktails.
Of all these however, Amaro Lucano is
closest to the heart, lips and tongues of the Crachesi.
Amaro Lucano, made in Pisticci Scalo in
Basilicata, has been produced since 1894 by the Vena family
from a recipe of unique herbs and a special process. This
combines to make it have a slightly lighter color enhanced
by deep aromatic intensity. There’s a pungent herbal note
followed by chocolate, root beer and mouth-cleansing
bitterness. Enjoy !!!
Celebrating our Heritage
A HOT TIME — Filippo Francavilla
(standing) shares his home grown hot peppers at the 7th
Annual Crachesi del Nord America Reunion on Saturday night
with (from left to right) Nick Sconzo, Marilyn Congedo, Tom
and Mary Rinaldi.
VIEWING HISTORY — Michael Salomone views
the 112 year old statue and the relic of San Vincenzo
Martire that was brought to Craco in 1769. These historic
elements are the focal point for the annual feast held at
St. Joseph’s Church on the 4th Sunday in October.
HISTORIC FLAG — The banner of the Societá
San Vincenzo Martire di Craco was on display at the feast
day Mass. Founded in 1899 as a mutual aid society by and for
the benefit of the Crachesi immigrants in New York the
Societá maintained traditions for over 40 years. The banner
was used at celebrations, parades, processions, meetings and
events that were conducted from St. Joachim’s Church until
its demolition in 1957.
FUN AT THE FEAST — A feast is no fun
without food. Shown right is the espresso barista serving
Paul and Kathy Tocci, while Salvatore Grossi waits in the
back, and Domenico DeCesare (with hat) and Brian Hogan
(extreme right) sample the pastries provided by member
families and Ferrara’s Café.
Modern Italian Immigration
The Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 reduced the
allowable annual number of Italian immigrants from over
200,000 to 6,000.
Several events, including America's harsh
immigration policy, the policies of the Italian dictator
Benito Mussolini that sought to keep Italians in Italy, the
Great Depression of the 1930s, and World War II kept Italian
migration numbers very low between 1924 and the end of World
In WWII Italy experienced defeat abroad,
the fall of the Fascist government, occupation by Germans,
invasion by American forces, and what amounted to a civil
war in many parts of the Italian peninsula.
The devastation and poverty of the
postwar period triggered another wave of migration out of
Italy to Canada, Latin America, Australia, and the United
States. Various provisions for refugees and for the
relatives of Italian immigrants who had acquired claims to
U.S. citizenship allowed for considerable migration that
reunited families and continued migration into the 1970s.
The Marshall Plan helped create the
Italian "economic miracle" of the 1960s and by the early
1990s the Italian Gross National Product surpassed that of
England. These developments, the attainment in Italy of zero
population growth, and the progress of the European Union,
virtually ended outmigration of Italians.
Shown below is a map of Italy with
estimates of immigration by region. From 1876-1900, a 25
year period, 1.5 million emigrated from Southern Italy. In
the next 15 years, the map shows this had doubled to more
than 4.1 million immigrants.