"Italian Festivals, Part I" Italy Local Custom Tip by deecat

Italy Local Customs: 314 reviews and 342 photos

  One of the Many Festival Parades Held in Gaeta
by deecat

It seems to me that the Italians really know how to celebrate. They seem to have a holiday or a festival for every day of the year!

For instance, a Jubilee is a special celebration that the Church declares on certain years. It's a chance for Roman Catholics to visit Rome and Vatican City to attend special ceremonies. I remember that the Jubilee in the year 2000 was the largest one so far in history

Carnevale means "goodbye to meat", and Carnevale is celebrated just before Lent, a 40-day period of prayer and fasting during which Roman Catholics often do not eat meat or rich foods.

So, in February or March, Italians in towns & cities dress in costumes to take part in special fairs, feasts, and parades. These celebrations last anywhere from a few days to a week. Venice holds some of the largest Carnevale events. I sure would love to see the long parade of gondolas and a grand parade to the cathedral...people wear remarkable masks and clothes of the 1700s...all the movies I've seen make Carnevale in Venice seem mystical.

We were in Italy during Easter one year, and we learned about Pasqua[Easter] where families hold a special Pasqua feast of lamb followed by cakes and chocolate eggs. Of course, St. Peter's Square in Vatican City is the center of Italy's Pasqua celebrations.

In Florence, the people celebrate Pasqua with the Scoppio del Carro or "Explosion of the Cart". This is when a team of white oxen pull a car loaded with fireworks and flowers into the piazza in front of the city's cathedral. After church service, the priest lights a small rocket attached to a mechanical dove. Then the dove shoots along a wire and out of the church toward the cart, which lights the fireworks!

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  • Updated Aug 4, 2005
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