4 Ways to Celebrate Italian American Heritage Month

Although we’re halfway through October, it’s not too late to celebrate Italian American Heritage Month.

Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Giunta speaking at the 23rd Sons of Italy Foundation National Education & Leadership Awards Gala

Medal of Honor recipient Salvatore Giunta speaking at the 23rd Sons of Italy Foundation National Education & Leadership Awards Gala.

Here are some ideas to reconnect with your roots:

1. Read a book by a contemporary Italian-American author

  • Sons of Italy Foundation 2011 scholarship recipient Salvatore Giunta published an autobiography describing how he went from working at a Subway in Iowa to becoming the first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Read Giunta’s first-person account in his book, Living with Honor.
  • If you’re looking for a political thriller (besides the one we just experienced in Washington) read a crime mystery by renowned author David Baldacci. The New York Times bestselling author just released a new novel, “The Hit,” and is set to release two more in 2014.
  • Don’t forget the Italian-American women authors! OSIA friend and supporter Adriana Trigiani continues to delight with her Italian-American-inspired stories.

2. Support the study of Italian language

Italian consistently ranks in the top 10 most studied language among American high school students. According to the Modern Language Association over 80,000 American undergraduates studied Italian in 2009, a 60 percent increase over 10 years.

Visit US Speaks Italian , American Association of Teachers of Italian and the National Council for the Promotion of Italian Language in American Schools to find out ways you can support local Italian language initiatives.

Consider donating to or becoming part of OSIA’s Commission for Social Justice (CSJ); the CSJ is committed to promoting a positive image of Italian Americans, including supporting Italian language in American schools.

OSIA's Commission for Social Justice protesting against negative portrayals of Italian Americans in front of HBO in New York.

OSIA’s CSJ protesting against the negative portrayal of Italian Americans on T.V. in front of HBO Studios in New York.

3. Celebrate a Family Tradition

Growing up, many of my family traditions were centered on food (like most Italian Americans). Our weekly dinners included risotto, polenta, sausage and peppers and lasagna. It wasn’t Christmas without a Panetone, my mother sent me to school with salami and capicola sandwiches and every major family dinner included a large plate of antipasti.

My family in Bollengo, Piedmont, Italy.

My family in Bollengo, Piedmont, Italy.

So naturally when my family heard about the famous Torta 900 while visiting our relatives in our ancestral village of Bollengo, Piedmont, we had to try it.

Since enjoying the decadent chocolate cream-filled sponge cake, it’s become a family tradition to discuss the cake at every family gathering and devise plans to replicate it (including the secret ingredient).

The Famous Torta 900 from Ivrea, Italy.

The Famous Torta 900 from Ivrea, Italy.

Does your family celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve? Or have dinner together every Sunday?

If it’s been a while since you’ve celebrated an Italian tradition with your family, it’s not too late to bring one back (or to start one).

  • Research your ancestral village in Italy and make a traditional meal from that region. Try this list of regions and recipes from Delish for ideas.
  • Bake traditional Italian Christmas cookies (check out our blog and story in the Fall 2013 issue of Italian America)
  • Start a book of family recipes
  • Record your family history. If you don’t want to lose your family’s Italian stories, start writing them down!

4. Reconnect with your heritage

Written by OSIA National Office Staff Assistant Carol Cummings
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3 thoughts on “4 Ways to Celebrate Italian American Heritage Month

  1. Well it is an immensely helpful post.Thank you for posting such an info here.I really hope you will continue enlightening individuals in future also,by way of such a useful info.Continue the excellent task.

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