The name of the Ferragosto festival comes from the Latin Feriae Augusti (Augustus rest), in honor of Octavian Augustus, the first Roman emperor, which takes its name in August.
The festival celebrated the end of the agricultural works, dedicated to Conso, which was, in Roman religion, the god of the earth and fertility. In ancient times, as a pagan festival, it was celebrated starting from the 1st of August.
The anniversary was later assimilated by the Catholic Church around the seventh century, and they began to celebrate the Assumption of Mary, holidays that was fixed on August 15th, the day when it is determined that the Virgin Mary was assumed, that is upheld in the sky with both the inner that with the body.
The day of August is traditionally dedicated to day trips with abundant packed lunch and, given the seasonal heat, a refreshing swim in the sea, lakes or rivers. Also widespread exodus to mountainous or hilly locations, in search of fresh. The cities then become empty.
“In mid-August they eat the roasted pigeons”
The traditional dish of Ferragosto lunch is roast pigeon. This custom, once widespread in much of Italy and which still survives in some areas, apparently was born in Tuscany, during the Carolingian period.
This festival is part of the Italian culture, and it’s part also of the Italian literature and cinema: Scherzi di ferragosto written by Alberto Moravia, Notte di ferragosto by Andrea Camilleri are some of the titles inspired by Ferragosto. Here is the link to one piece from the movie “Il pranzo di ferragosto” by Luigi De Laurentis. The main character, Gianni, is still living in an apartment in the center with his mother and he run into debt. For money is persuaded to host three old ladies for a couple of days. From here begins a series of fun adventures in which Gianni is involved because of the different characters and personalities of the elderly, until all have lunch together in joy the next day of August. But when it comes time to leave, the four ladies offer a large sum to stay and Gianni can only accept.