Celebrating What Once Was and What Now Is

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When immigrants from Tindari and Patti, Sicily came to New York at the turn of the 20th century, they brought with them the tradition of celebrating the Black Madonna or “Madonna Bruna.” Although East 13th Street has changed significantly in the last 50 years and Sicilians en masse  no longer live in the East Village, for more than a decade annually on September 8, a group of New York artists, musicians, poets, and Italian Americans gather where immigrants once had a shrine dedicated to the Black Madonna of Tindari in order to recognize this piece of New York and Sicilian immigrant history and celebrate the power of connecting once again with each other.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Allison, I hope you will be joining the celebration of the Black Madonna today. Is it a religious ceremony at all or just pure crazy Sicilian celebrating – with diversity? Whatever it is, have a great time. I’m sure food will be involved and I’m sure it will be good, at least in your home! -<3 Dana

  2. Dana, I love your curiosity! It’s an open, come as you are event at the site of the original shrine–which is now a bar, of all things! But that makes for a fun and free-spirited evening. We hang out on the street and play music, dance, read poetry, and socialize. It’s free-form and lovely and a very diverse group with kindred spirits. at 447 East 14th Street, NYC! Here’s an article to learn more about the history of this NY story: http://www.nyfolklore.org/pubs/voic30-1-2/madonna.html Enjoy!

  3. Thanks for all the extra info! I did read and scan the article you sent. Very interesting history on the event and that the shrine is now reposing in someone’s private home in NJ. Do have fun this evening celebrating with your fellow artists!

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