Winter Legend: Tre Giorni della Merla
One topic of conversation that comes up frequently is the weather! This week we’ve experienced a real drop in temperature and a brutal reminder that winter is still here for some time. There has been much talk about the colder temperatures and everyone is making predictions on whether it will snow or not.
During one of these conversations my Zia told me a story (you might even call it a legend) that she heard when she was a little girl. It is said that the last three days of January leading into the first of February would be the coldest of the year. Okay, the idea that the end of January would be really cold didn’t seem strange or unusual to me but this notion was also paired with a sweet story about a bird called “la merla” (the blackbird).
The story says that one winter long ago, on the last days of January, the winter was very cold; so cold that a blackbird, which at the time had white feathers, desperately sought refuge for her and her three offspring. The only place they could find was in a chimney stack where they rested for three days. On the first of February the sun came out and so did the blackbirds, only their feathers were no longer white but black with soot. From that moment on, all blackbirds were born with black feathers.
After hearing this story, I mentioned it to many of my Italian friends and all of them had heard this story growing up, and although there are many different versions to this little story, one thing is certain, the coldest days of winter always seem to fall on the last days of January and as I look at the weather forecast for the rest of the week, it seems this tradition will hold true.
Stay warm everyone!