Festival Lights for Ferragosto in Positano
August 15th is an important holiday here in Italy called Ferragosto, which celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin into heaven. One of the most important holidays of the years and a bank holiday, Ferragosto is a day usually spent with family and friends enjoying the warm summer weather. One of the busiest periods of the year for Italian tourists, the Amalfi Coast is regularly packed during the Ferragosto holiday. While it is a crowded time, a visit to the Amalfi Coast during the Ferragosto holiday offers more than just sun and beautiful beaches. Ferragosto is also an important religious holiday in both Positano and Maiori, where there are elaborate festivals in honor of the Virgin Mary. These celebrations are a great chance to see firsthand the significance of Ferragosto as a religious holiday.
Positano’s picturesque church of Santa Maria Assunta is located just steps from the beach and is home to an important 13th century Byzantine icon depicting the Black Madonna. On Ferragosto this icon is taken from the church and carried on an elaborate procession through the city. The beaches and harbor of this famous seaside town are packed with visitors and boats that come to see the splendid firework displays that takes place at midnight on the water. Just down the coast to the east, the city of Maiori celebrates their patron saint and protector Santa Maria a Mare on August 14th and 15th. A beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary is processed through the town ending with a dramatic procession of the statue up the 127 steps to the church. In both Positano and Maiori, Ferragosto is one of the biggest celebrations of the year.
To read more about Ferragosto, head over to Becoming Italian Word by Word where Dianne Hales has a great features today about the holiday. Brush up on your Ferragosto vocabulary and have yourself a wonderful day. Buon Ferragosto!