Culture & Cuisine
May Day in Italy
May Day: May 1, is a public holiday all over Italy. It is celebrated similarly to America's Labor Day. Many services will be closed, but you may find interesting parades and festivals to celebrate the day. Expect big crowds in popular Italian tourist destinations.
Many European countries - including Italy - celebrate International Workers Day on May 1. Schools, government offices and most businesses are closed. And just as Americans celebrate Labor Day every September, Italian typically celebrate Festa dei Lavoratori (also known as Primo Maggio) with concerts, parades, picnics and family time. Here are some interesting facts about the holiday:
- Much like labor holidays or May Day events around the world, Festa dei Lavoratori celebrates the economic and social gains that Italian workers have achieved, such as eight-hour work days, safe working conditions, and the right to vacation time. It also promotes updating and adding more protections and privileges so workers are treated fairly.
- Festa dei Lavoratori was preceded many years ago by “Il Calendimaggio,” an agricultural celebration marking the start of the growing season. Many regions in Italy still celebrate Il Calendimaggio – “calendi” means day, and “maggio is May – May Day. In Assisi, residents plan all year for the celebration, which lasts several days.
- Festa dei Lavoratori honors the common worker. It dates back to the late 1880s when labor unions started emerging around the world. Festa dei Lavoratori was suspended in 1925 when the fascist regime controlled Italy. The holiday was restored by the Italian government in 1945 after World War II.
5 Mother’s Day Poems in Italian (with English Translations)
by Heather Broster
Mother’s Day is coming up! The second Sunday of May is recognized in Italy, as well as many other countries around the world, as Mother’s Day (la Festa della Mamma) – the day to celebrate our amazing mothers. In Italy, Mother’s Day as it is celebrated today is a relatively new holiday. This holiday and its celebrations started in the United States and slowly spread around the globe after World War II.
To help you get in the mood of celebrating your dear mother, or to remind yourself of your beauty and importance as a mother, here is a short list of Italian poems translated into English. Each poem is a tribute to the kindness mothers bestow upon their children, the sacrifices mothers make to bare and then raise a family, and the inner and outer beauty of all mothers, old and young.
Vi vogliamo bene, tutte le mamme nel mondo!
Mi Ha Fatto La Mia Mamma (My Mom Made Me)
By Gianni Rodari
Persone male informate
o più bugiarde del diavolo
dicono che tu sei nato
sotto a una foglia di cavolo.
Altri maligni invece
sostengono senza vergogna:
Sei venuto al mondo
a bordo di una cicogna.
Se mamma ti ha comperato
come taluni pretendono
dimmi: dov’è il negozio
dove i bambini si vendono.
Tali notizie sono
prive di fondamento,
ti ha fatto la tua mamma
e devi essere contento.
or more liars than the devil
say that you were born
under a leaf of cabbage.
Other evils instead
claim without shame:
You came to the world on board a stork.
If Mom bought you
like some pretend
tell me: where is the store
where the children are sold.
Such knowledge is
devoid of reason,
your mom made you
and you should be happy.
La Mamma (Mom)
By Ada Negri
La mamma non è più giovane
e ha già molti capelli
grigi: ma la sua voce è squillante
di ragazzetta e tutto in lei è chiaro
ed energico: il passo, il movimento,
lo sguardo, la parola.
Mom is not young anymore
and already has many
grey hairs: but her voice is bright
like a little girl and everything in her is clear and energetic: her step, her movement, her look, her word.
La Mamma (Mom)
By Roberto Piumini
Due braccia che m’abbracciano,
due labbra che baciano,
due occhi che mi guardano,
e mani che accarezzano
e sento un buon odore
e sento un bel sapore:
la mamma è questo per me
e molto ancora:
la mamma è una dolcissima signora.
Two arms that hug me,
two lips that kiss,
two eyes that watch over me,
and hands that caress
and I smell a good smell
and I taste a nice taste:
Mom is this for me
and much more:
Mom is a very sweet lady.
La Parola Più Bella (The Most Beautiful Word)
By Marino Moretti
Mamma. Nessuna parola è più bella.
La prima che si impara,
la prima che si capisce e che s’ama.
La prima di una lunga serie di parole
con cui s’è risposto alle infinite,
alle amorose, timorose domande
E anche se diventassimo vecchi,
come chiameremmo la mamma
più vecchia di noi?
Non c’è un altro nome
Mom. No word is more beautiful.
The first that you learn,
the first that you understand and love.
The first of a long series of words with which is
responded to the infinite,
to the loving, fearful questions
And even if we grow old,
What would we call Mom
older than us?
There is no other name.
By Ada Negri
Io sento, dal profondo, un’esile voce chiamarmi:
sei tu, non nato ancora, che vieni nel sonno a
O vita, o vita nova!… le viscere mie palpitanti
trasalgono in sussulti che sono i tuoi baci, i tuoi
Tu sei l’Ignoto.—Forse pel tuo disperato dolore
ti nutro col mio sangue, e formo il tuo cor col
pure io stendo le mani con gesto di lenta
io rido, ebra di vita, a un sogno di forza e
t’amo e t’invoco, o figlio, in nome del bene e del
poi che ti chiama al mondo la sacra Natura
I hear, from within, a frail voice call me:
is it you, not yet born, that comes in my sleep to
O life, o new life!… My pulsating guts
they start in gasps that are your kisses, your
You are the Unknown. –Maybe for your
I nourish you with my blood, and I form your
heart with my heart;
Also I stretch out my hands with the gesture of
a slow caress,
I laugh, drunk with life, to a dream of strength
I love you and I beseech you, o son, in the name