There are plenty of things that I don’t understand about Italy. A lot of the times, my incomprehension stems from a language barrier. But some of the time, it’s a religious barrier that leaves me completely in the dark.
I don’t come from a Catholic background, so there are a ton of “new” holidays that I’ve experience in Rome that I had never even heard of before.
For example, December 8th is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Before yesterday, my understanding of the holiday was:
1. No school on a Wednesday! Sweet!
2. It’s something about Mary?
After ignoring fireworks all morning, I finally decided to leave the house and investigate. When I walked outside, my jaw dropped. The major, traffic-heavy street that I live near was closed to cars. Instead of angry scooter drivers, the street was filled with at least 100 booths, selling candy, shoes, pottery, plants- you name it, they got. Surprise Christmas Fair! In a totally impractical location! LOVES IT.
After loading up on a few goodies, I headed back home. I heard the neighborhood marching band gearing up, so I opened my shutters to see what was up now.
All of my neighbors had the same idea, and as we all watched the singers and trombone players make their slow procession, their was a cry of “Eccola! Eccola!”
And there she was indeed- the Virgin Mary, all decked out in flowers and lights being carried by four men on a platform through the streets:
I was too caught off-guard to worry about something like focusing my camera. As they passed, I realized that they were probably headed for the church in the piazza, so I cut through other streets to catch up with them at la chiesa.
A crowd was gathered to watch Mary arrive.
I’m still not sure what fireworks and candy booths have to do with the Immaculate Conception, but I’m slowly learning how to celebrate all my new Italian holidays.