Foot Ball Italian Weddings in Newark

by Andrew Fresco


I remember when an Italian received an invitation to a wedding, it meant the whole house hold was invited,including children and crying babies. Following the church ceremonies was the reception, which was held in the home, rented hall or church basement.

I remember having to go down to my father's butcher shop, on 6th Street and 15th Avenue, early Sunday morning to cut pounds of cold cuts for the reception sandwiches. Some times we went down to Prince Street to get the hard roles. The sandwiches were put together by some member of the wedding, stuffed and wrapped them in wax paper and put them in a large cardboard box.

At the reception, the ushers handed or threw the sandwiches to you, if you could not be reached. If you did not like the sandwich filling you could throw it back.Thus giving rise to the expression, "Foot Ball Wedding" indicating it was not a sit down dinner, not to be confused with the expression," gun shot wedding". The ushers also passed out pitches of beer, large bottles of soda, root beer or sarsaparilla. There were large trays of home made cookies called "Wedding Knot Cookies." The Bride and Groom circled the room passing out Jordan Almonds (almonds coated with sugar icing).

There was music: Men with guitars, mandolins and accordions who got together and played Italian folk music. There was always the "Taranetella" ,boys running around playing tag and little girls dancing trying to balance themselves standing on their father's shoes.

Finally it was time for "La Busta", an envelope with money ,for the wedding gift. You would hear the expression, "Cent Anni"wishing the couple 100 years of life, good health, love and happiness. a gift or favor was given out as a remembrance of the day.

Once the Bride and Groom left, everyone started to leave, carrying tired sleepy kids in their arms, and thinking what a wonderful time they had.

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