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Ferragosto

Published: 14/08/2019 By The Abode Team

'Ferragosto 'is an Italian public holiday celebrated on 15 August. It coincides with the major Catholic celebration of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary and is a holy day of obligation which, along with Christmas and Easter, is one of the most important dates in the Catholic religious calendar. However, the Feriae Augusti were introduced by the emperor Augustus in 18 BC. This was an addition to earlier ancient Roman festivals which fell in the same month such as the Vinalia Rustica or the Consualia which celebrated the harvest and the end of a long period of intense agricultural labour. During these celebrations horse races were organised across the Empire and beasts of burden (including oxen, donkeys and mules) were released from their work duties and decorated with flowers. The ‘Palio dell’Assunta’ takes place on 16 August in Siena and the word palio comes from the pallium, a piece of precious fabric which was the usual prize given to winners of the horse races in ancient Rome. According to Richard Overy, author of "A History of War in 100 Battles", the Ferragosto holiday was introduced by Gaius Octavius Augustus after his victory over Mark Antony at the battle of Actium on 2 September, 31 BC.

The popular tradition of taking a trip during ‘Ferragosto’ arose under the fascist regime in the second half of the 1920s. During the mid-August period the regime organised hundreds of popular trips through the fascist leisure and recreational organisations setting up of a train service which was available at discounted prices. The initiative gave less affluent people the chance to visit Italian cities or reach seaside and mountain resorts. The offer was limited to 13th, 14th and 15th of August and consisted of two options; a one day trip within a radius of 50-100 kilometres and a three day trip within a radius of 100–200.

Traditionally the first two weeks of August are when most Italians go on holiday and many businesses close or wind down during this period, so, in true Italian style, the Abode office will be closed until 9.00am on Monday the 19th of August. So, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, the Abode team would like to take this opportunity to wish you Buon Ferragosto!

1 JanuaryNew Year's DayCapodanno
6 JanuaryEpiphanyEpifania
Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinoxEaster SundayPasqua
Monday after EasterEaster MondayLunedì dell'Angelo, Lunedì in Albis or more commonly Pasquetta
25 AprilLiberation DayFesta della LiberazioneLiberation from Fascism and Nazi occupation, 1945
1 MayInternational Workers' DayFesta del Lavoro (or Festa dei Lavoratori)
2 JuneRepublic DayFesta della RepubblicaBirth of the Republic, 1946
15 AugustAssumption DayAssunzione
1 NovemberAll Saints' DayTutti i santi (or Ognissanti)
8 DecemberImmaculate ConceptionImmacolata Concezione (or just Immacolata)
25 DecemberChristmas DayNatale
26 DecemberSaint Stephen's DaySanto Stefano