The 15th of August in Italy is a public day and we celebrate Ferragosto. I love this day, probably because it is on my favorite season of the year, but also because it brings me back in time with beautiful memories of my youth when I used to be at the sea with my family! We used to go to “Romagna” in the Adriatic in a place called Cesenatico. I spent great holidays there and certainly not because of the beautiful beaches or sea (I still remember the smell of the seaweed, yuck); it was more about the atmosphere, the people, the games with my new friends and the first nights out, when a little bit older, mum and dad used to let me go out till midnight! WoW!! I even gave my first kiss in Cesenatico!! Yury….Okay,okay now I am probably giving too many details! :-) What I want to talk about is Ferragosto and the reason why we celebrate it! I am sure that if you asked to 10 Italians the meaning of this day, just 1 or 2 people would give you the right answer! Quite bad really, particularly considering it is a religious festivity and we are a Catholic country!
So, what is Ferragosto?
On this day we commemorate the ”Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary—the real physical elevation of her sinless soul and incorrupt body, into Heaven”. This day was proclaimed by Papa Pio XII in the 1950. I am not sure about the reason why He picked this day but we can go back a bit more in the past and see that this day has also a pagan origin; infect, the name Ferragosto derives from its original Latin name Feriae Augusti ("Festivals of the Emperor Augustus") and it was not just a day celebration but the entire month that Augustus proclaimed as the month of leisure.
I find extremely interesting to see that we have retained such an old tradition and that for us August is still the “holiday month”. I guess Augustus is a real example of a great man who knew how to build an empire but also knew how to enjoy life! Bravo Cesare!!!
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