Vita Gazette

News from Italy

Ferragosto Festival begins: Buon Ferragosto

Vita gazette – The long-awaited festival of the summer season has begun. What do we celebrate during the Ferragosto period, which starts on August 15?

There is hardly anyone in Italy who does not wait for the Ferragosto period. Everyone spends this anniversary in the place they love the most and with the people they love. Ferragosto is a holiday, a reunion, a moment… August 15 is the party where trips outside the city are organized and you have a rich meal with our family or friends. But Ferragosto is, above all, an ancient anniversary full of history and also a Christian bond. But it is a history and tradition that goes back to Ancient Rome.

Ancient Roman period

Ferragosto takes its name from the Latin feriae Augusti (rest of Augustus) to denote a feast dedicated to the first Roman emperor Octavian Augustus, from which August is also named. This expression meant festivals of rest and celebration, called “Consoalia”, dedicated to Conso, the god of soil and fertility, to celebrate the end of agricultural work.

In the Ferragosto celebrations, horse races were held all over the Empire, every living thing including the pack animals was rested, everywhere was decorated with flowers, and the workers wished their masters well in return for their tips. This culture and tradition was so loved that it has survived to this day. So much so that it was made compulsory in the Papal States during the Renaissance period.

Mussolini era

These celebrations in mid-August were also turning into a tradition of traveling outside the city during the fascist era. During the Ferragostano era under fascism, popular excursions called “Ferragosto’s popular trains” were organized by the regime. As such, prices were falling, and those with low incomes had the opportunity to see Italian cities. Takeaway meals were provided during the August trips that lasted for 3 days.

Catholic tradition

The Feast of Ferragosto was originally celebrated on August 1. It was then the Catholic Church that chose to move this feast to the middle of the month to coincide with the Assumption of Mary. That’s why today, Catholic Christians also celebrate Madonna’s ascension on August 15.

Contemporary Ferragosto tradition

Today in Italy, this day is celebrated with a traditional family meal. Or celebrated as a holiday season. Cities are often empty. These abandonments can extend from two days to the rest of the month. Horse races were also held in Ferragosto in ancient times. Today we see this tradition with the Palio dell’Assunta in Siena. This race, which attracts great attention from the residents and tourists of the city, takes place in the central square of the city.

Usually, public holidays mean total closures, even in major towns and cities, with everything closed from post offices to public transport (city transit has round-the-clock hours), and that’s the same on August 15. “chiuso per ferie” signs are posted everywhere. However, museums and historical sites are open.

Ferragosto guide

After two years of closure and restrictions, August 15 turns into a full-fledged day of celebration for tourists and Italians. Panorama is the view of a partially abandoned city, but fascinating Italy doesn’t completely close for vacation.

Services and law enforcement do not go on vacation. Security forces took the necessary precautions in places where nightlife and beaches are located. Warnings have been issued for those going on the traditional barbecue and mid-August excursion not to light unsupervised bonfires on the beach or in the meadows.

Tram, metro and buses will be active for Ferragosto. The public transport network will follow the usual times of public holidays. Metros will maintain their normal Sunday hours, with the first departure from the terminal at 5.30 and the last departure at 23.30. But ticket offices at metro stations will remain closed. But at major stations it will be open for half a day from 8 to 14.

Ferragosto with Sant’Egidio

In addition, this year, the Sant’Egidio community continues its support organizations with a series of solidarity initiatives on August 15. As always, food will be distributed to refugees, homeless and elderly people, and celebrations will be held where refugees coming to Italy will cooperate with humanitarian aid organizations. A particularly important event will be the watermelon feast at Rebibbia prison, which will be attended by large numbers of inmates at a difficult time for Italian prisons, where the number of suicides has dramatically increased in recent months.


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