Happy Ferragosto from beautiful Italy!
Ferragosto is always held on the 15th of August each year and marks a significant moment when, if you are not already on vacation, then you really should be! Its designation as a holiday is credited to Emperor Augustus around 1800BC and the “Feriae Augusti” were joined to an existing series of Roman festivities. These included the Vinalia Rustica or the Consualia, which celebrated the harvest. The famous Palio horse race in Siena is descended from these festivities and there are events all over Italy to mark this.
Now since it is Italy and a holiday there is of course also a Catholic slant to the proceedings. The 15th is also a holy day as it is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. For those non-Catholics reading this basically means that August 15th is celebrated as the day Mary ascended into heaven body and soul. If you are curious Wikipedia has a pretty interesting page about it, including the documentation and church teachings which discuss it and the debate as to whether Mary actually died or not. Yes you read that correctly and no I am not going to comment further on it.
To sum up though basically today is a day of holidays and I am very happy to copy the Italians in this. So I am heading into the Abruzzo mountains in central Italy.