Italian Language Blog

Agosto Posted by on Aug 2, 2011 in Culture

The month of agosto (August) is named after the first Roman emperor  Ottaviano Augusto (Augustus), who died on the 19th of August 14 AD.

Festività (Festivals):

Traditionally here in Italy agosto is the month when all the factories close down. Everybody goes on holiday to the seaside, the countryside, or up into the mountains, and the main cities are deserted, except for the tourists. This tradition goes back to the Roman times, and its origins are found in the name of the main holiday: Ferragosto, the 15th of Augustus. Here is a link to the blog which I wrote last year about the origins and traditions of this festival: Ferragosto

Tradizioni (Traditions):

On around the 10th of Augus,t if the sky is clear at night, we might be lucky enough to see lots of stelle cadenti (shooting stars). This is due to the fact that a group of asteroids called Sciame delle Perseidi (the Perseid meteor shower) intersect the Earth’s orbit. We also call this phenomenon Lacrime di San Lorenzo (Saint Laurence’s tears) because the 10th of August is la festa di San Lorenzo martire (the festival of St.Laurence the Martyr). Legend has it that the tears which San Lorenzo shed during his martyrdom are wandering in the sky for eternity, and every year they fall down to Earth on the night of his death. It is believed that on this night if a person stops and contemplates the sufferings of San Lorenzo, his or her wishes will become true. The image of stelle cadenti representing mourning tears can also be found in the famous poem X Agosto written by Giovanni Pascoli, which I published a couple of years ago.

Detti d’agosto (August Sayings):

Vendere il sole d’agosto (To sell the August sun) meaning: to sell something plentiful/common as if it were a rare thing

Se ad agosto la pioggia viene, ben poco si trattiene (If the rain arrives in August, it doesn’t stay long)

La prima acqua d’agosto rinfresca l’aria e il bosco (The first rain of August refreshes the air and the forest)

Ai primi d’agosto l’anatra finisce arrosto (At the beginning of August the duck ends up roasted)

Per Ferragosto si mangiano i piccioni arrosto (On the 15th of August roasted pigeons are eaten)

Per San Rocco la rondine fa fagotto (On San Rocco, 16th of August, the swallow packs up and leaves)

Chi vuole un buon mosto zappi la vigna d’agosto (He who wants a good new wine should hoe the vineyard in August)

Agosto soleggiato a settembre vendemmiato (Sunny August is harvested in September) Vendemmiare means ‘to harvest the grapes’ , see my blog: La Vendemmia

Agosto prepara la cucina, settembre la cantina (August prepares the larder, September the wine cellar)

Agosto, moglie mia non ti conosco (August, dear wife I don’t know you). This is a proverb dating back to biblical times which means that in August men are so busy and tired from working the land that they don’t have much time for their wives. The modern interpretation of this proverb is that whilst wives are on holiday with their children, men are on their own in town working, and they have more opportunities for extramarital adventures!

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  1. Allan:

    Molto interessante! Grazie!

  2. Jerry:

    Bravo, eccellente!

  3. David:

    What is the relationship between August and “Ferie”?

  4. charles laster:

    one of my favorite entries. Grazie

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