Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
Although Italy is a great place to visit or live during any time of the year, it takes on additional charm during the holidays. Italy celebrates a number of holidays, some of which have been imported from other countries. However, there are also holidays celebrated in Italy which are uniquely Italian. While some of these holidays are religious in nature, others focus on the country's history. Here is a short list of some of Italy's holidays that you should try to experience if you get the chance to visit.
The Epiphany is celebrated in Italy on January 6th. This holiday was originally the celebration of Jesus' birth. However, after Christmas began to be celebrated on December 25th, the Epiphany switched its focus to three events that occurred in Jesus' early life. The Epiphany, which now celebrates Jesus' meeting with the magi, his baptism, and his first miracle, marks the conclusion of the Christmas holiday in Italy. On this literal "Twelfth Day of Christmas," children receive presents from Befana, who flies on her broomstick to bring candies and toys to children who have been good, and pieces of coal for those who have been naughty. There are also large street fairs on this day, where families can go to celebrate and purchase even more gifts.
The religious holiday of Ferragosto celebrates Mary's rise to heaven to join Jesus. It is celebrated on August 15, and is a day of joyous festivities and prayers of thanks to the Virgin Mary. It is a huge holiday in Italy, on the scale of Christmas. In fact, in most areas of the country this holiday is celebrated with celebrations and parties, similar to New Year's Eve.
Other Italian Religious Holidays
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy day, celebrated on December 8th. For the faithful, it is a Holy Day of Obligation. The day commemorates Mary being graced by God, making it possible for her to lead a sin-free life. It is a day when faithful followers attend Mass. All Saints Day celebrates all known and unknown Catholic martyrs and saints. It is celebrated on November 2, and is a day when everyone remembers those who have passed on. There are also various feast days celebrated throughout Italy, when cities honor their patron saints. For example, Saint Peter and Saint Paul are honored in Rome, while St. John the Baptist is honored in Genoa, Florence and Turin.
Other National Holidays
Italy celebrates the Festival of the Republic on June 2nd, which commemorates the day in 1946 when Italy voted to become a republic and abolish the monarchy. Liberation Day is celebrated on April 25th, marking the occasion when the Allied troops liberated Italy during the Second World War. On Liberation Day, everyone who died in the war is honored. As is the case in many countries, Labor Day is celebrated on May 1st. Labor Day culminates in Italy with a free musical concert, which is held in Rome's Piazza San Giovanni.