LE FESTE – CELEBRATIONS
May 1, known as Primo Maggio, is a holiday in Italy and many other parts of the world. This public holiday, which literally translates to May 1, is recognized as Labor Day. Some refer to this day as International Worker’s Day, but Americans continue to celebrate workers on the first Monday in September.
How to Celebrate May 1
In any event, in Italy, Primo Maggio is considered a great excuse for a three-day weekend. Where my family is from in Ischia, a small island off the coast of Naples in Italy, many tourists head to the beach. And the natives celebrate by continuing to work because these long weekends are money makers for them. Others in Italy flee to the mountains. Whether at the beach or the mountains, they picnic like it’s 1999. Cookouts and barbecues are common. I have eaten some sausage from the grill myself on Primo Maggio.
Not everyone feels the need to get away. Staycations or quiet time spent at home are highly popular, too. The kids are off from school. The parents are home from work. The family gets to be together without all the responsibility of the other days. Sometimes, that’s enough of a celebration.
A Holiday to Get Behind
The few times I’ve been in Italy for Primo Maggio I have been working for American outlets that don’t recognize the day as a holiday. Just another work day for we Americans. But I observed my Italian friends and family celebrating. The feast reminded me of a combination of America’s Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is like Memorial Day because it’s an unofficial launch to summer. Being in southern Italy, where it is a warmer climate, I am not surprised that summer starts sooner over there. It is like our Labor Day because, well, it’s a celebration of laborers. What is clear is that working people are the ones keeping the world moving, so we should celebrate them every day. If grilling meats or lying in the sun is a way to honor them, then count me in.
Di Meglio has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10. For more handmade crafts and party gear, visit the Italian Mamma store on Etsy.