Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pera di San Giovanni

I asked around yesterday and discovered that the miniature pears that I enjoyed so much were actually called "Pera di San Giovanni" (Pear of Saint Joseph). These little sweet drops are named after the saint because they are ripe for picking around the end of June near the anniversary of St. John, which just happens to be today.

Many years ago, young adults would play several different types of games on the eve of San Giovanni. After all, San Giovanni is known to look over those in search for love. At least in these parts of Sicily before bed, boys and girls would gather three fave beans and prepare them for bedtime. One fave bean would be left intact, while one completely shelled, and the last only would have the head popped off. They would leave the fave beans under the pillow and fall fast to sleep. In the morning, they would reach under their pillow and pull out one bean. Depending on which they pulled would predict their fate in love. The intact fave bean meant that they would find true love.

Was San Giovanni on your side today?


rowena said...

I love that traditional habit of the fava bean. Very cool Jilli...I wish they had the pears (and other small fruits) here in Lecco. Still happy though that I'm able to get watermelon from Sicily!

Jilli said...

All the little traditions here are great. I'm fortunate that my parents-in-law are from a older generation that still remember all these stories. Unfortunately, they are being lost with the new families! Sad to say... That's why we need to keep these things alive!