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Felice giorno del padre!

posted Jun 21, 2013, 7:43 PM by Unknown user
Saluti da Roma! Rome is even more beautiful than everyone said it would be. So far I’ve toured the ancient city, exploring the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The title of the Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum becomes quite ironic when you travel via the Capitoline Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome, and see the Tarpeian Rock. It’s a cliff overlooking the Forum where convicted criminals were flung to their death!  

Though many other countries celebrate Father’s Day this weekend like we do, Italians observe Festa del Papa on March 19th, the Festa di San Giuseppe, since St. Joseph embodies fatherly love, compassion, kindness, generosity and acceptance. Some customs are similar to ours; children give gifts to their dads and families get together to share a meal. But it’s a much bigger public holiday in Italy, often commemorated with street parades, live music and dancing, bonfires and pageants. Special pastries are prepared; zeppole in the south and frittelle in the north. Red roses in decorative ribbons are placed near pictures of St. Joseph.  

In some places it’s still customary to hold centuries-old Palio dei Somari, or donkey races. These add just the right amount of silliness to the festivities, as the donkeys often roam off course; blatantly ignoring the instructions of their jockeys, who are suited up in full medieval garb! So in that same spirit, perhaps I’ll honor our Father’s Day by ignoring the instructions of my next tour guide, and roam off course…