Feriae Augusti (Ferragosto)

Feriae Augusti (Ferragosto) is an ancient holiday – in the Imperial Rome called Feriae Augusti (Ferragosto) – moderately celebrated on 15 August in Italy, the Republic of San Marino and the Canton of Ticino.

The Feriae Augusti (Ferragosto)day is traditionally devoted to day trips with laut lunches and, given the seasonal warmth, to refreshing baths in marine, river or lake waters. Also widespread is the exodus to mountain or hilly places, looking for refrigeration.

Feriae Augusti (Ferragosto)The term Feriae Augusti (Ferragosto) comes from the Latin word Feriae Augusti (Augusto’s rest) indicating a feast set up by Emperor Augusto in 18 aC. Which added to the already existing festivities falling in the same month, such as rustic Vinalia, Nemoralia or Consualia. It was a time of rest and celebration that originated in the tradition of the Consualia, festivities that celebrated the end of farm work, dedicated to Conso, who in the Roman religion was the god of earth and fertility. The old Feriae Augusti (Ferragosto), in addition to the obvious purpose of self-promotion, had the purpose of linking the main agostane festivals to provide an adequate rest period, also called Augustali, necessary after the great workloads over the previous weeks.

During the festivities, horse racing and shooting animals, oxen, donkeys and mules were organized throughout the empire, were dispensed with work and flowered with flowers. These ancient traditions live today, almost unchanged in form and participation, during the “Palio dell’Assunta” that takes place in Siena on 16 August. The same name “Palio” comes from the “pallium”, the precious cloth drawer that was the usual prize for winners of horse racing in Ancient Rome.

On the occasion of August, the workers welcomed the masters, in return for a tip: the custom was rooted so strongly that in the Renaissance age it was made mandatory in the Pontifical State.

The party originally fell on August 1st. The shift is due to the Catholic Church, who wanted to coincide the lay recital with the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary.

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