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Marco: All About Italian Lesson 9 - Top Five Important Dates During the Italian Calendar Year
Marco: Hi, and welcome back to ItalianPod101.com's All About Italian lessons! I'm Marco, and I'm here in the studio with…
Laura: "Ciao," I'm Laura.
Marco: In this lesson, we're going to tell you the top five most important holidays in Italy!
Laura: We'll start by giving you a list with all the eleven national Italian holidays.
Marco: Okay, let's get started!
Laura: January first is "Capodanno."
Marco: "New Year's Day."
Laura: January sixth is "Epifania"/"La Befana."
Marco: "The Epiphany."
Laura: During the month of March or April, we have "Pasqua."
Marco: "Easter."
Laura: April twenty-fifth is "Anniversario della Liberazione."
Marco: The "Anniversary of Liberation from the Fascist Regime."
Laura: May first is "Festa del Lavoro."
Marco: "Labor Day.
Laura: The second day of June is "Festa della Repubblica."
Marco: "Republic's Day."
Laura: August fifteenth is "Assunzione di Maria Vergine, Ferragosto."
Marco: "Assumption Day." It is a day to celebrate the Virgin Mary.
Laura: November first is "Festa di Ognissanti—Tutti i Santi."
Marco: "All Saints' Day" it’s a time when Italians commemorate and remember the deceased.
Laura: December eighth is "Immacolata Concezione."
Marco: "Immaculate Conception."
Laura: December twenty-fifth is "Natale."
Marco: "Christmas," and finally…
Laura: December twenty-sixth is "Santo Stefano."
Marco: "Saint Stephen's Day."
Laura: Among these holidays, we'll choose the ones you probably don't really know very well.
Marco: We choose our top five!
Laura: The first holiday we would like to talk to you about is called "Befana."
Marco: It is on the sixth of January.
Laura: In Italy, it is considered the day on which Christmas holidays end. During this day, all decorations are taken off.
Marco: According to the legend, the "Befana" is an old woman who arrives on a broomstick during the night of January fifth and fills socks that children have prepareed the day before with candies and sweets for the good children and coal for the bad ones.
Laura: I loved this day when I was a child!
Marco: I'm sure you received coal!
Laura: Ah, ah, yes, sometimes! You know, Marco, starting from a week before this day, you can find "Befana" stockings full of sweets on sale in supermarkets.
Marco: Usually these are given as a present to little children.
Laura: It is said that this feast has old pagan origins, and its traditions were incorporated into Christmas celebrations when Christianity became mainstream.
Marco: Oh, that's interesting!
Laura: Now let's move on to national holiday number two.
Marco: The "Anniversary of Liberation" on the twenty-fifth of April.
Laura: "L'anniversario della Liberazione."
Marco: On April 25, 1945, Italy was liberated by the Allied troops from the fascist regime. This date marked the end of the Second World War in Italy.
Laura: During this day, Italians commemorate and honor their fallen soldiers and partisans of the Italian Resistance who fought the Nazis as well as Mussolini's troops.
Marco: As a result, on the twenty-fifth of April in every city, there are crowds of people on the streets and squares watching parades filled with marching bands and large or small Italian flags.
Laura: Even on TV, they celebrate this date by broadcasting historical documentaries or images of the main commemorations in Rome with the most important leaders of the Italian government.
Marco: The third public holiday we are going to cover is "Labor Day."
Laura: "Festa del Lavoro" or "Festa dei Lavoratori."
Marco: The first day of May is an international holiday that celebrates the economical and social achievement of workers, in particular the eight-hour work shift of 1866.
Laura: This festivity in Italy was suspended during the fascist regime's years. The biggest event for this holiday takes place in Rome.
Marco: Yes. In the square of Porta San Giovanni, a big concert is sponsored by the Italian unions CGIL, CISL, and UIL, and usually a lot of different singers and bands, mainly national, come to perform. The entrance is free and thousands of people participate every year. At least half of Roman citizens go there. During this public holiday, all kinds of companies are officially closed.
Laura: Okay, we now have national holiday number four!
Marco: Yes, "Assumption Day."
Laura: "Sì, la Festa dell'Assunzione," better known as "Ferragosto."
Marco: If you ask Italians what day is the fifteenth of August, they will be probably reply by saying "Ferragosto" instead of "Assunzione."
Laura: According to the Christian tradition, this is the day when the Virgin Mary was transported, with both body and soul, into heaven.
Marco: By the way, in August Italians are generally on vacation. Summer holidays are usually spent by the seaside, but there are also those who like mountains just for relaxing and fresh air.
Laura: Even though the cities are empty, you'll find celebrations often including music, food, and fireworks in many places.
Marco: If you have the chance to be on an Italian beach on the fifteenth of August, watch out because it is common to throw water bombs and buckets all around during this day!
Laura: Oh, that's true! That's so amusing!
Marco: We've now arrived to the fifth of our top five list of Italian national holidays.
Laura: Yep, and this one is the most loved and important feast for all Italian families, "il Natale!"
Marco: "Christmas!"
Laura: Christmas is the most important holiday in Italy. All Italians put on decorations on their house doors, decorate the Christmas trees, buy presents for friends and relatives, and look for the best food in stores.
Marco: On the night of Christmas Eve, it is common to take part in the church Mass. This festivity is heartily felt by Italians because they can have a reunion with all family members while eating a long and rich Christmas lunch.
Laura: This is the other important aspect of this celebration…staying with relatives, preparing food all together, and playing games or cards. All this is considered the soul of this feast and is probably much more important than the religious aspect.
Marco: And on this special day, cuisine is, once again, the leading characteristic. Every single region in Italy has its own menu for Christmas Day, but almost everywhere the same sweets are eaten.
Laura: Such as "panettone" and "pandoro," followed by espresso coffee and dry fruits or peanuts.
Marco: Okay, that just about does it for today!
Laura: Have you personally participated in some of these festivities in Italy?
Marco: You can leave a comment at ItalianPod101.com!
Laura: "Ciao!" We'll be waiting for you in our next All About Italy lesson!
Marco: "Ciao a tutti!"