On August 15th, the Catholic church celebrates the Virgin Mary’s ascension into heaven. Nevertheless, the August celebrations date back much further than the Catholic church. Feragosto is a public holiday in Italy. It originates from Feriae Augusti, the rest of Emperor Augustus. Emperor Augustus made August 1st a day of rest for hard workers in the agricultural sector.

It became a tradition for workers to wish their coworkers, “Buon Ferragosto.” By doing so, they would earn a monetary bonus. The Catholic Church decided to move the date to August 15th so that it would coincide with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

In Italy, it is not uncommon for individuals to take the entire week off and spend some time relaxing. Many Italians book vacations near the beautiful Italian beaches. Until about a decade ago,90% of businesses closed for the whole month. Nevertheless, doing so definitely caused a financial decline for many companies. Now, most companies close for about two weeks and workers take their vacations. In many towns of Italy, religious parades take place on this date where the statue of the Virgin Mary is paraded through the streets.

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