Ferragosto in Italy
- SWATHI RAMASWAMY
- UPDATED Sep 21, 2018
- 3 Views
Ferragosto is essentially a summer holiday for the Italians. It doesn’t sound too festive but in reality, the month of August, when Ferragosto is celebrated, is one of the most festive months for the Italians. Ferragosto is traditionally celebrated on 15th August to commemorate the Assumption of Virgin Mary into Heaven. Catholics believe that on this day, Mother Mary left for the heavenly abode. However, historically, the Ferragosto is a festival of yore.
Ferragosto is derived from Latin Feraie Augusti which means “Festival of Augustus.” This Festival was formulated by Emperor Augustus in 18 BC. It was primarily done to commemorate victory in some battle. But in reality, it became a link between the various holidays of August like Vinalia Rustica or Consualia. Most of these festivals celebrated the season of harvest. This created a month-long holiday in August when people could take a break from their usual routines and enjoy themselves. In the Roman times, Ferragosto was celebrated through horse races and parades. During this festival, the beasts of burden were released and decorated as an appreciation for their hard labour. Another tradition of the festival is that workers greet their masters who in return give tips to them. This custom was even made compulsory in the Papal States during the Renaissance.
Modern Italy has not forgotten her traditions. The customs of yore are almost exactly observed during the Palio dell’Assunta on 16th August, in Siena.
Some of the traditions and events that take place in Italy during Ferragosto are:
1. A month of holidays
As mentioned earlier, Ferragosto links all the summer festivals of Italy creating a month-long holiday in August. Most of the festivals during this month are to celebrate the month of harvest. This is a welcome holiday after months of hard work. People celebrate the time with their friends and family through various trips, sumptuous dinners, etc.
2. Go on a trip
This is the official season for Italians to go on a trip. This custom developed in Italy during the Fascist regime. From 13th to 15th of August, cheap trips are arranged for lower-middle-class families so that they can go to the city and enjoy themselves. This custom has evolved into many Italian families planning their holidays during the Ferragosto. It is not only wanderlust but a custom that keeps Italians on their feet during the month of August.
3. Monument hopping
During Ferragosto most shops remain closed in Italy. However, the famous monuments and sculptures are open for tourists to roam about. It is a good time to visit the monuments without having to worry about the maddening crowd of the locals. You can roam about peacefully and take in all the smells and tastes of the city during this period of national holiday.
4. EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES
Ferragosto maybe essentially a holiday but it is still a festival to the Italians. Therefore, in many towns, you will see parades and processions carrying statues of Virgin Mary. The churches also hold special services in honor of the day when Mother Mary left for her heavenly abode. You can attend these events to get a true taste of Italy’s religious front.
Ferragosto is also famous for the mesmerizing fireworks that adorn the sky in the evening. You watch these fireworks you’re your family and friends at leisure and put a beautiful end to your day.
During this festival, Italians mostly eat their traditional fish meal, seafood, olives, cured meat, cheese, and vegetables.
Thus, Ferragosto is quite a popular festival of Italy. It is a month-long celebration of leisure from a year of herd work.