Holiday Italian Traditions, Casa DiBartolomeo Style

Le famiglie italo-americane sono legatissime alle tradizioni portate dalla madrepatria e più di ogni altre a quelle del periodo natalizio. La Vigilia di Natale per i DiBartolomeo è sempre stata un’occasione particolarmente speciale, sin da quando 38 anni fa Larry ha aperto le porte della sua casa a Solon per un festeggiare con gli amici più cari e tutti i parenti l’arrivo delle feste con un cenone all’italiana preparato per l’occasione insieme alla figlie.

Italian Americans are rich with tradition. And nothing quite compares with those enjoyed, shared and perpetuated in the holiday season. Christmas Eve in the DiBartolomeo home has been particularly special for family and friends since the doors were opened some 38 years ago for a dining feast prepared by Larry DiBartolomeo.

As a child, Christmas Eve was hosted by Larry’s grandfather, Dominic, and then later moved to the home of his father’s sister, Antoinette Pucella. Today, Larry serves this “MEN ONLY” feast at his home in Solon.

“I wanted to keep the traditions going for family and friends. The world has changed so much. Everyone is scattered and running in so many different directions. Family and Italian traditions are of the highest importance to me,” says DiBartolomeo. “Christmas Eve was always the best day of the year as a child with fond memories of family and Italian traditions. I always looked forward to it, and still do.”

DiBartolomeo opens his doors from noon to 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve to his uncles, cousins, Italian Club members (Larry is a member of the Italian American Brotherhood and Solon Italian Club), Italian American clients, and other Italian friends. “My family and my wife’s family (Savastano) gather at my home at 7 p.m. that evening and we continue the celebration,” he says.

Several hours of preparation for Larry begin on December 23, assisted by his daughters, Camille and Dorian. “It’s another tradition of ours (the girls helping) that we love,” he adds.

DiBartolomeo has a full cucina in his basement, like many Italian Americans, and that’s where he cooks and serves the 50-60 men who attend each year.

“I typically go through 12 pounds of calamari, 10 pounds of perch, 10 pounds of cod/baccala, 10 pounds of cappellini alio olio, insalata and 4-5 gallons of wine (some homemade brought by paisans),” he says.

His wife, Toni, makes Italian cookies, biscotti and pizzelles.

“It is gratifying to see how many show up each year, enjoy the meal and each other’s company and leave happy - and full,” says DiBartolomeo. The DiBartolomeo roots are in the Campobasso, Molise region of Italy.