Thursday, August 15, 2019

36. Ferragosto, 15 agosto

Buon Ferragosto!

I didn't know Ferragosto existed until I saw the charming movie Pranzo di Ferragosto, recommended by a colleague who has an unparalleled command of all things Italian, including film, design and la bella lingua.

Wikipedia instructs that Ferragosto, now held in the middle of August, originated at the very beginning of August—the first—when, in 18 BCE, the Emperor Augustus introduced the Feriae Augusti (Festival Holidays of Augustus) as days of rest at the end of long agricultural activity. Workers wishing their employers "Buon ferragosto," got monetary bonuses. At some point, the Catholic Church jumped on the holiday bandwagon, moving the festivities to the Feast of the Assumption (double the pleasure). Mussolini used Ferragosto as a way to give the lower classes the opportunity to escape their daily lives for a few days, but I don't want to give Mussolini credit for much, so I'll stop here.

Enjoy the mid-August loveliness, knowing that Summer is waning.

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