As I sunbathe in a bikini on my patio, my mother, at the other end of the line, informs me it’s about to snow back home. It makes feel slightly guilty for enjoying the warmest winter California has on record and it also reminds me that, in Italy, these days are called “Blackbird’s days” (I giorni della merla).

I would often hear old women refer to the last three days of January as Blackbird’s days, to signify the coldest days of the year, but I never wondered why they were so called. So, still clad in my bikini, I logged on an Italian search engine and started comparing hypothesis.

In the historical realm, it’s said that the Army had to ferry a large cannon named “Blackbird” over the Po river and they waited until the river was completely frozen over and could support the weight of the weapon. More romantically, legend has it that a female blackbird, to shield her white chicks from the bitter cold, took refuge inside a chimney, re-emerging on February 1, the chicks completely black. As charming as this sounds, I doubt there is any veracity – who would be observing blackbirds in the middle of winter?

“Why don’t you ever come visit at Christmas?” whines my mother.

I think of the blackbird, inhale the balmy air and shake my head. Fat chance.







Filed under Italy, Los Angeles

2 responses to “BLACKBIRD’S DAYS

  1. Annamaria

    Here in Italy “blackbird’s days” are running late.
    While I’m writing it is snowing and the rest of Italy is blocked by a tremendous snowfall.
    Lucky you.

    P.S. You have remembered me my mother telling me the story of the female blackbird trying to repair her and her puppies from the cold refuging inside a chimney. Thank you Claudia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s