The word Ferragosto comes from the Latin word Feriae Augusti, the pagan feast in the year 18 A.D. made in honor of the Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus.
On the 1st of August the Romans celebrated the harvest of grain, cereals and the fertility of the earth. This festivity would last until the end of August.
Feriae Augusti, or Ferragosto as it is pronounced in today modern Italian language was intended as “the relaxation of August” from the working year.
This festivity would develop with public rituals and banquets, excess of drinking and sex practices to which everyone was permitted to participate, including slaves, maids and the lower class, along with the nobles and emperors.
Horse racing, bull fighting and sports events were organized to add to the public entetainment.
Even the working animals, such as cows and donkeys were left to relax for the whole month of August and were dressed in the festivity attires with lot of flowers to decorate them. The workers would give good wishes to their employers and would receive a good tip from them.
The festivities would reach its peak on the 15th of August as it still happens today. Through the centuries the Feriae Augusti, or Ferragosto became so eradicated in people’s lives that the Roman Church decided to turn it into a legal festivity and made a holiday rather than suppress it.
Today in Italy and all over the Christian Europe, Ferragosto is celebrated as a religious holiday and as the mid-Summer holiday.
Modern Italians and Europeans treat this holiday as the longest vacation time of the year. Fun, amusement, eating, resting, dancing, socializing and absolutely no work activity is conceived. Therefore, if you are in any import business, when dealing with Italy remember not to place any order of merchandise in July and August. Factories are closed, people are enjoying their vacation and no one is in town.
A few suggestions to beat the heat
In August, being the hottest month of the year, people tend to wear light fabrics, such as linen and cotton. They are the breathable fabrics of all, luscious and delicate textiles that treat our skin in a delicate and gentle way.
People eat very light food to beat the heat, fresh fruit and vegetables to supplement the loss of water through copious perspiration.
Outdoor dining is very common in Italy. People tend to eat late in the evening to catch some cool breeze.
Restaurants and chalets/balere (open air discotheques) are packed until very late at night and promenades pullulate with people.
Nighttime is magic for an intimate dinner, or to pull the small hours of the night talking and joking with friends.
In villas and Summer homes’ backyard vacationers organize their night life. Plain pergolas are easy to build and to dress up with hanging panels of sheer fabrics or inexpensive burlap. The breathable fabric provides privacy and it is sheer enough to let in the soft glow of the moon. A gazebo is an easy item to create. The portable types come in a variety of colors or fabrics and they can be installed in minutes. Like a woman going out for dinner, any patio can be dressed up too for the occasion.
Unwind and decompress, once a year at least, it is important to see life in a different perspective.
I have worked on remodeling single spaces or entire homes while my clients were gone on vacation. They gave me the keys of the house and said goodbye to the messy remodeling. I am so very grateful of the trust people repose in me as a service provider and as a person. My workers and I treasure their properties as they were ours.
Please forward this article to anyone you think might be interested in reading it. Comments are welcomed. Thank you. Ciao,
Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and fashion designer, working in the USA and Europe. She combines well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual. In her career she has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. Valentina has been awarded: “Best Of Local Business” by U.S. Commerce Association, July 2010. http://www.valentinadesigns.com/MediaNews/Media03.html
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