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Renaissance Holidays, Festivals and Feast Days

Guest Author - Deborah Watson-Novacek

During the Renaissance, holidays for the most part took place on public church holy days. These holidays were much treasured not only for their religious significance (if any), but for the extra opportunity they afforded people of the working classes to enjoy a day of leisure.

Below is a list of primarily Italian and English national holidays, festivals and feast days of the Renaissance.


January
1: Capodanno / New Year's Day
6: Epifania/La Befana/Epiphany
Varies: Plough Monday (English) The first Monday after Twelfth Night.


February
2: Candlemas (English) Candlemas was celebrated as the first day of spring.
3: San Biagio (patron saint of Doues)
9: San Rinaldo (patron saint of Nocera Umbra)
14: Festa degli Innamorati (San Valentino) / Valentine's Day
Varies: Martedý Grasso (Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday) - part of Carnevale. This was referred to as "Shrove Tuesday" in England.
Varies: Mercoledý di Ceneri (Ash Wednesday in England - the first day of Lent)


March
8: La Festa della Donna
16: San Ilario and San Taziano (patron saints of Gorizia)
19: Festa del PapÓ (San Giuseppe)
19: San Proietto (patron saint of Randazzo)
24: Lady Day or the feast of the Annunciation (English)
Varies: Domenica delle Palme / Palm Sunday
Varies: Venerdý Santo / Good Friday
Varies: Pasqua / Easter Sunday
Monday after Easter: Pasquetta / Lunedý di Pasqua / Easter Monday


April
25: San Marco (patron saint of Venezia)


May
1: Festa del Lavoro / May Day in England


June
21: Midsummer Festival / Feast of John the Baptist
24: San Giovanni Battista (patron saint of Firenze)
29: San Pietro and San Paolo (patron saints of Roma)


July
10: San Paterniano (patron saint of Grottammare)
15: Santa Rosalia (patron saint of Palermo)


August
1: Lammastide, or Lammas Day. (English)
2: San Alessio (patron saint of Sant'Alessio in Aspromonte)
15: Ferragosto / Assunzione / Day of the Assumption


September
19: San Gennaro (patron saint of Napoli)
22: San Maurizio (patron saint of Calasetta)
29: Michaelmas (English) Celebrated the beginning of autumn, and Michael the Archangel.


October
4: San Petronio (patron saint of Bologna)
25: St. Crispin's Day (English)
28: The Lord Mayor's Show (English)
31: All Hallows Eve or Halloween (English)


November
1: Ognissanti / All Saints Day
2: Il Giorno dei Morti / Day of the Dead / All Soul's Day
3: San Giusto (patron saint of Trieste)
11: San Martino (patron saint of Foiano della Chiana)
17: Accession Day/Queen's Day (English)


December
6: San Nicola (patron saint of Bari)
7: Sant'Ambrogio (patron saint of Milano)
8: Immacolata Concezione / Immaculate Conception
24: Beginning of the 12 Days of Christmas
25: Natale / Christmas
26: Santo Stefano / St. Stephen's Day
31: San Silvestro / St. Silvester's Day


Consider this calendar listing a stepping off point. More holidays, festivals and feast days will be added over time.
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Content copyright © 2013 by Deborah Watson-Novacek. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Deborah Watson-Novacek. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Laura Nevin for details.

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