Every person, how much ever hardworking he or she might be, craves for a break now and then. This is why most people are keen to check the public holidays as soon as the New Year’s calendar releases. Public holidays are a great way to take a break and relax without sacrificing one’s leaves. Moreover, knowing about the official public holidays beforehand would also help you to plan your vacations. If you are living and working in Italy, you would be glad to know that you would get to enjoy around 10-11 holidays in the country in the year 2020.
1.New Year’ Day: January 01′ 2020
New Year’s Eve is celebrated with so much gusto in Italy that the country is one of the best places to welcome the New Year. Fireworks, parties, feasts, cocktails and amazing performances are somethings that happen in every corner of the country. Moreover, each of the cities of Italy has some special traditions. While Rimini hosts the world’s longest New Year’s Eve celebration, Bologna welcomes the New Year by decorating oxen and burning effigies. One of the unique ways that Italians celebrate the New Year is by staying awake the whole night to see the first sunrise of the New Year. After all the excitement of the New Year’ Eve, 1st January is a day of relaxation.
2.Epiphany: January 06′ 2020
Epiphany is a part of Christmas celebrations, a day that commemorates the story of three wise men who visited Baby Jesus in Bethlehem, along with gifts. Parades and other festivities happen throughout Italy on January 6 every year. Another important event on Epiphany Day is the feast known as La Befana, which is based on a fairytale, where a woman (Le Bafana) arrives on a broomstick bearing gifts for little children. On Epiphany Day, post offices, government offices, educational institutions and banks remain closed.
3.Easter Sunday and Easter Monday: April 12 and 13′ 2020
Easter is one of the biggest festivals in Italy, second only to Christmas. The celebrations begin an entire week before Easter Sunday. Somber religious processions are held everywhere in Italy during the week before Good Friday and Easter. On the other hand, Easter Sunday is celebrated with marvelous fireworks as well as delicious feasts and wine. Apart from this, every part of the country follows different traditions for Easter Sunday. While Easter falls on a Sunday, Italy also has a public holiday the next day. i.e. on Easter Monday, also known as La Pasquetta. It is believed to be the day on which the resurrected or risen Jesus meets his disciples. You would get to enjoy unusual games (like Easter egg hunt or egg race), dances and free concerts on this day, throughout Italy. It is also a great day to have picnics with families and friends.
4.Liberation Day: April 25′ 2020
Liberation Day is an important national day for the Italians as it was on this day in 1945 that Italians were liberated from the rule of Benito Mussolini and Nazi occupation. The day commemorates the sacrifices of those who fought for the Italian Resistance. It is a public holiday for government offices, schools, colleges and even for most companies of the private sector. Throughout Italy, you would find celebrations and festivities for Liberation Day through music concerts, political rallies, public gatherings, food festivals and marching bands. The Italian flag is part of most parades, while “Bella Ciao” is a song popularly played during the entire day.
5.International Workers’ Day: May 1′ 2020
International Workers’ Day is not a special event only in Italy. In fact, 80 countries around the world celebrate this day. The first day in May is dedicated to trade unions and workers who struggled for the equal rights and benefits of the labor force. International Worker’ Day was first celebrated in Italy in 1891, although it was not celebrated for a few years during the period of Fascist Venetennio. However, the celebrations were resumed from 1945. On May 1st every year, you would find parades, music concert and other such interesting events in almost every city in Italy. Some Italians take this opportunity to go on a short holiday during this day to relax and enjoy with friends and family.
6.Republic Day: June 2′ 2020
Republic Day in Italy falls on June 2 and celebrates the end of monarchy in Italy. On June 2′ 1946, the Italian public voted to remove the power of the monarchy from the country. The public was hostile towards the monarchy as they had supported the rule of Benito Mussolini. Once the power of the monarchy was removed, the royal family was exiled from the county, and Italy became a republic. Italians celebrate this day as a public holiday, when military parades and official ceremonies are held at almost every city in Italy. One of the most important ceremonies on this day is laying a wreath on the Unknown Soldier’s tomb at Altare della Patria in Rome.
7.Assumption Day: August 15′ 2020
Celebrated on August 15th, Assumption Day (also known as Assumption of Mary) is a public holiday for most Italians. It is a religious festival, one to commemorate the day when God took the body of Mother Mary (Jesus’ mother) into heaven, after her death. The most popular way of celebrating this festival in Italy is by organizing processions. You would see many such processions all over Italy, with people carrying statues and icons of Mother Mary. Fireworks can also be seem everywhere in the evening on Assumption Day.
8.All Saints’ Day: November 1′ 2020
Another religious festival, All Saints’ Day is celebrated by Christians as a honor to all the saints in the Catholic faith. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the 4th century. Churches conduct special masses on this day, and you would be able to see images, statues and icons of saints in several churches on this day. Other than this, people visit their friends and relatives and exchange good will as well as gifts to one another. If anyone has the same name as one of the saints, All Saints’ Day is considered to be a special day for them as well.
9.Immaculate Conception: December 8′ 2020
The Catholics in Italy believe Immaculate Conception as a day when God blesses Mother Mary to live a life free of sin. Believers celebrate this public and religious holiday by attending mass in the memory of Mother Mary, who they believe to be immaculate. If you are in Rome during this time, you must not miss the ceremony at the Piazza Mignanelli, when the Pope kneels before the statue of the Madonna and places a floral wreath on it. Apart from this, you would find different types of street entertainments by clowns and jugglers in several other areas of Italy on December 8, every year.
10.Christmas Day: December 25′ 2020
Christmas is a festival that is celebrated by Christians world over. December 25 is considered to be the day when Jesus Christ was born. Christmas celebrations in Italy start on December 8, right from the Immaculate Conception Day. Lighting up the Christmas trees and other decorations begin on this day. On Christmas Eve, many Italians skip meat and attend the midnight mass. Christmas Day is celebrated by meeting family and friends, eating traditional Christmas lunch and exchanging gifts with each other. Elaborate nativity scenes at homes and churches can be commonly seen here. While these traditions are common all over Italy, you may find some unique traditions in certain parts of the country. However, Christmas celebrations do not end on December 25. Rather they continue till Jan 6, the day of Epiphany.
11.St. Stephen’ Day: December 26′ 2020
The day after Christmas is also a holiday for the Italians. December 26 is celebrated as St. Stephen’s Day. This day is celebrated in the honor of St. Stephen, who is believed to be the first Christian martyr. While Italians celebrate Christmas at home, the celebrations move out of homes on St. Stephen’s Day. One of the main activities of people on this day is to visit churches to see the nativity scenes. On the other hand, every region of Italy has a different way of celebrating this festival. In certain areas, people visit hospitals to offer a donation, while in some other places the entire nativity scene is re-enacted. People also celebrate this day by enjoying a small feast at home.
If you are a tourist and want to learn about the culture and traditions of Italy, you can plan your holiday around some of these public holidays. But an important thing to remember is that it could get really crowded in Italy during these times of the year.