Sunday, March 4, 2012

Feste di Sant'Antonio - Feast of Saint Anthony

Another one of my favorite experiences in Valenzano was celebrating the feast of Saint Anthony with my friends and their community.  Feast days are a HUGE deal in Italy.  In fact, a lot of people celebrate their "name day" or patron saint's feast day more so than their birthday.

Here's an example to explain feast days/name days.  My brother's name is Joseph, and he was born on March 25th. St. Joseph's Day is March 19th, so he gets to celebrate on the 19th as well. 
Valenzano's All Saint's Fair in 1998. Not exactly like the feast I attended, but close!
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Saint Anthony is one of the patron saints of Valenzano - the church in the center of town is named for him. Additionally, Antonio is the name of my Nonna Carmela's late husband (and my friends' father and grandfather) - so it has special meaning to them. 

Valenzano celebrates the feast with a big outdoor party in the piazza by the church. Food, drinks, music, dancing.  Different community groups, such as my friends' theater organization, sponsor booths and raise money for the church.  

I really enjoyed meeting my friends' neighbors and friends. It definitely helped me practice my Italian, and telling a ton of people involved with theater that I planned on studying film in Rome made me feel cool :)

We headed to an "American" restaurant for a late dinner - apparently American food is trendy in southern Italy.  Italians know their food, and the Italian spin on American fare is definitely more delicious than it is at home - with the exception that it is popular to mix ketchup and mayo for your french fries! 

I'll always remember my time in southern Italy, it was a fantastic mini-vacation before classes in Rome started! 

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