Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25th- Liberazione (Italian Liberation Day), Festa di San Marco, and Festa Del Bocolo (Italy)

As you can tell from the title of this post, April 25th is a busy day in Italy! Several holidays fall upon this day, the first being Liberazione--Italian Liberation Day. This holiday commemorates the fall of Mussolini's Italian Social Republic and the liberation of Italy by allied troops in 1945 toward the end of World War 2. The Italians honor Liberazione nationally not only by celebrating, but also by remembering the soldiers and war heroes who gave their lives to fight for Italy's freedom. Although there are parades, concerts, marching bands, flags, and rallies to celebrate the fallen Italians, most restaurants, shops, and public services throughout Italy are closed. 

Coincedentally, April 25th is also the Festa di San Marco in Venice.  This feast day honors Saint Marco who is Venice's Patron Saint. To celebrate, the Venecians host a parade and a procession in the "Piazza San Marco", or Saint Mark's Square. In honor of Saint Mark, the Venetians also celebrate the "Festa Del Bocolo", or Festival of the Blooming Rose. On this day, Venetian men present the women they love with a red rose. There are several myths from which this tradition may have originated. One story tells of a war hero wounded to death on the battlefield who leaves his lover a rose covered in his own blood. Another legend tells of a rose bed growing beside Saint Mark's grave that served as a barrier between two young lovers many years later. Whatever the true story may be, Venetians honor the Festa Del Bocolo similarly to the way Americans celebrate Valentine's Day. 


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