Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Immaculate Beatle

To a Briton such as myself, the 8th December will always be foremost remembered as the day I heard the world had lost a Beatle.  Here in Rome today, I was distracted by a National holiday which kicks off with the Pope swinging past the Spanish Steps in his Popemobile and officially opening Christmas on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Back in England, most supermarkets and chain stores will have already been torturing their clients for at least a month with gaudy tinsel, Slade and billboards defying them to create anything less than a perfect Christmas.

In Rome today, the city began to twinkle with fairy lights and the churches proudly displayed their nativities, minus the hundreds of figures of baby Jesus still stored away, lovingly swaddling in bubblewrap until the eve of the 24th when they will be placed in the empty cribs. By lunchtime, I’d already seen a handful of these charming stable scenes and Catholic Gastro-gnome had gleefully confirmed the date of this year's carol service at the Protestant church near the Spanish Steps, not for a possible change of denomination but in anticipation of the homemade mince pie sale which dangles from the last note of Come All Ye Faithful. 

As this day draws to an end, stacks of Panettone and Pandoro will have been purchased and devoured around the capital today, another 3000 Euros will have been faithfully tossed into the Trevi Fountain pool and hundreds of candles will have been lit by pensive visitors to the capital’s 900 plus churches. How many were lit silently along with mine, in memory of Lennon on the 30th anniversary of his loss, one can only imagine...