Monday, 22 August 2011

Ferragosto




I have borrowed the picture here

Ferragosto is an Italian holiday that is celebrated on the 15th August. The name Ferragosto translates into something like holidays of the Emperor Augustus. The day was "invented" to celebrate the end of the hard labours in the fields.

The catholic church also celebrates the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day is known in many countries as Assumption Day, but here in Italy it is always referred to as Ferragosto.
Nowadays this day is often celebrated on the beach - and is very often accompanied by really big lunches and parties on the beach in the evening which ends with spectacular fireworks. Some places you'll find parades with people dressed in costumes from the Middle Age and other places have their food festivals which includes cheap or downright free and delicious food. There are music festivals and horse races and lots of other nice things you can watch or participate in.


The picture is taken from Wikipedia

In earlier days it was common to arrange horse races and the working animals also got their "day off" and they were decorated with flowers. Some of the old traditions are still alive today, like the horse race "Palio of Siena" which is celebrated on the 16th August. Many places in Italy they have celebrations both on the days before and after the 15th.

Be aware that many shops close on Ferragosto. Of course, in the big cities like Florence, Rome, Milan etc you will always find some places that are staying open, but smaller cities often turn into "ghost towns" on this day because people take to the beach to celebrate.

My brother-in-law is born on Ferragosto so we always celebrate with way too much food.... (By the way, his middle name is Maria and a good guess is that it's because he is born on this particular day. )

I spent the whole morning under an umbrella, like you see on the picture here, without being able to move, but that's another story I will tell you later.........

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