What does Ferragosto mean? Why is Ferragosto celebrated in Italy?

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History of Ferragosto

Discovering the origins of Ferragosto, the most important Italian summer festival, which has its origins in Ancient Rome.

Ferragosto is celebrated on August 15 in all of Italy. Its origins date back to Ancient Rome. The day of Ferragosto is traditionally dedicated to short trips and excursions.

What is the meaning of Ferragosto?

The name of the feast of Ferragosto originates from Latin Feriae Augusti (“Festivals [Holidays] of Emperor Augustus”), in honor of emperor Augustus, from whom the month of August takes its name. It was a period of rest and festivities, established by the emperor himself in 18 BC, which originated from the tradition of Consualia, festivities which celebrated the end of agricultural works, dedicated to Conso, who, for Romans, was the god of earth and fertility.

Throughout the Empire were organized parties and horse races, and draft animals, exempted from work in the fields, were adorned with flowers. It became a tradition for the workers to wish their employers “buon ferragosto” and earn a monetary bonus in return. In ancient times, as a pagan holiday, it was celebrated on August 1st.

The custom became so strongly rooted that in the Renaissance it was made compulsory in the Papal States. The holiday was assimilated by the Catholic Church around the seventh century, when it began to celebrate the Assumption of Mary, a holiday that was then set for August 15.

Ferragosto was also used by Mussolini to give the lower classes the possibility to visit cultural cities or go to the seaside for one to three days, from the 14th of August to the 16th.

topics: facts about ferragosto, why is ferragosto important in italy


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