Ferragosto is an ancient holiday loved by Italians, celebrated on August 15. The term Ferragosto is derived from the Latin Feriae Augusti (Augustus' rest), which was a celebration introduced by the emperor Augustus in 18 BC., so this is Ferragosto 2031. The Ancient Romans had many festivities during August to celebrate the harvest and the end of a long period of intense agricultural labor. They needed the rest, and Emperor Augustus needed a month and another holiday named after him. Ferragosto also included honoring Diana, goddess of the hunt, the moon and birthing, and the cycle of fertility and ripening. Since the citizens of the Roman Empire did not want to give up this holiday, the Catholic Church dedicated Ferragosto to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (giorno dell’Assunta), to celebrate the elevation of her body and soul into Heaven.
Having to adopt to the new country and its holidays, the Italian-American community stopped celebrating Ferragosto a long time ago, but in Italy it is a cherished national holiday. It is a day to be spent outside, in the mountains, on the beaches, to have a barbeque, and a picnic with friends and family. Like Labor Day.
|Date||29 January 2005, 11:07:47|