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Months and Italian Festivities

In this post I gave you some information Christmas in Italy.

But what about all the other festivities and how are the months called in Italian?

Well, let’s start from the beginning:

Unlike other languages and just like the days of the week, seasons and months do not require a capital letter.

Season names are the following:

As for the months, you might have heard an Italian friend complaining about the weather in this time of the year, saying “marzo pazzo” or “marzo pazzerello” (crazy March): it is not warm enough nor that cold, one day it might be heavy rain and on the next day it might be sunny.

But where does this phrase come from?

It is an Italian nursery rhyme called “Il treno dell’anno” (the train of the year), used to memorize the names of the months in Italian:

Il treno dell’anno ha dodici vagoni,
ogni vagone porta cose nuove.
Gennaio nevicate;
Febbraio mascherate;
Marzo pazzerello;
Aprile con l’ombrello;
Maggio fiori e frutti;
Giugno a casa tutti;
Luglio e agosto
scuola non conosco;
Settembre la vendemmia;
Ottobre con la nebbia;
Novembre e nasci tu;
Dicembre il buon Gesù.

And the festivities?

Here is a list of the days we refer to as the “giorni rossi sul calendario“: the red days on the calendar are the ones off work. Most shops are likely to be closed and transports may have disruptions.


01/01: Capodanno;

06/01: Epifania;

19/03: San Giuseppe, Father’s Day, when Italians normally eat the zeppole di San Giuseppe (see recipe);

marzo/aprile: Pasqua, Easter, when kids get the uovo di Pasqua (chocolate eggs, with a toy inside);

marzo/aprile: Pasquetta, Easter Monday, when Italians have a pic-nic or a barbecue with friends;

25/04: Festa della Liberazione (see link for info), the day conventionally chosen to commemorate the liberation of Italy from the Nazis by the Italian partisans;

01/05: Festa del Lavoro, Labour Day;

02/06: Festa della Repubblica, the day used to celebrate the creation of the Italian Republic;

15/08: Assunzione, which Italians conventionally call “Ferragosto”: on this day be assured that you will find traffic jams all over the country, as most Italians either go on holiday, get back from their holidays, or just go to spend some time on the beach. It is what I consider one of the craziest days of the year in Italy. Kids normally do water balloon fights as it is very warm and grown-ups have bbqs or very big lunches with lots of wine!

01/11: Ognissanti, All Saints;

02/11: Giorno dei Morti, Day of the Deads, when Italians bring flowers to the cemetery for their beloved ones;

08/12: Immacolata, when Italians decorate the Christmas tree;

25/12: Natale, Christmas;

26/12: Santo Stefano;

I think by now you are fully equipped to do my quiz: I have created an impiccato (hangman): just study the information here and remember you have a limited number of errors 🙂

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