Folk Traditions

Ferragosto: day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Ferragosto: day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Folk Traditions

Ferragosto “For the Assumption the oil is greasy.” Popular Proverb.

August in origin, was not a party to the limited day of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, 15, but lasted throughout the month. This is because the first Roman emperor established the “feriae Augusti”, that is, feasts in honor of Augustus. The most important religious celebrations that took place in this month were those of August 13, dedicated to the goddess Diana, tied to the life of the woods, lunar phases and motherhood. At this festival, was also allowed to participate in both the servants to masters, for one day exist without social differences. Women throughout the year votive tablets hung inside the temple and consecrated to the goddess of his own clothes, so to get an easy delivery and happy.

“August, buttock, plucked and put roast.” Popular Proverb.

And ‘the feast of Assumption, major holiday celebrated everywhere in the name of the collective meeting, of joy that the summer brings in its full force, before the great work of autumn. Day dedicated to picnics, pilgrimages, to Palios sailors. A little ‘everywhere on the night of the eve of the Assumption were and are still lit bonfires in the plains as in the mountains where the spectacle of the numerous shining glow from the heights is even more impressive. Again, the fire symbol of purification, heat and light. Around the bonfire people danced and sang. And while the men fired gunshots in the air, women and boys shouted the traditional “Viva Maria”. Traditional games such as “Sbarbacipolle”, “Palle e Santi”  and the “decino” attracted the attention of the audience while being served “Panzanella”. It is a salad with lots of seasonal vegetables and stale bread soaked. Bread is another star of this festival now as then aggregates the community. General August was the month of pilgrimages and Val di Chiana all flocked to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Canocio (Trestina-Umbria), August 15. Pilgrims came to walk the evening before and then leave the next day, hosted by the local peasants to sleep. In Cortona, instead, it was Our Lady of widgets, with stalls and embroidery of all kinds, in the Piazza del Duomo.

Excerpt from “Life in Tuscany”, a book kindly granted by the Institution Cultural and Educational Castiglionese

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