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Words to use at an Italian festival


As with any foreign language when you don’t keep in practice, you slowly forget to speak and even the basics escape your mind. But don’t worry, we’ll get back to basic Italian grammar and conversation and review last month’s lesson and get answers to the lesson’s compito (homework). However, it’s that time of year when Italian festivals spring up wherever Italian-Americans live, work, and play. So this lesson is about getting by at an Italian Festival.

The major festivals are usually connected to local parishes, and a few are sponsored by local Italian-American cultural organizations. This lesson is to introduce some simple Italian words and phrases to let you use a little Italian for fun when you are enjoying a day at una festa.

Let’s begin by learning the difference between festa and festival. Both are Italian words. Festival is also English and its meaning is applied to the outdoor Italian celebrations of religious, cultural, and heritage pride. However the Italian word festival refers more to the English word fest, as in songfest. A good example is Festival di San Remo, Italy’s annual San Remo Song Festival, from which came the famous song by Domenico Modugno, “Volare.”

Festa is the word used in Italian for the traditional festivals. It also means party as in birthday party and holiday as in Chiuso per Festa, closed for the holiday.

Here are a few words and phrases to try at your local religious festa:

La processione dei santi The procession of the saints

La santa Messa Mass   

La Benedizione Benediction

Santo patrone Patron saint    

Il prete Priest    

Now for everything else:

Il cibo Food

Il panino Sandwich                                                                  

Il gelato Ice cream

La granita al limone Lemon water ice

La birra Beer

Il vino Wine                         

I giochi Games

Le giostre Rides

I premi Prizes

La bancarella Booth

L’intrattenimento Entertainment

Il gelato Ice Cream

If you’ve never been to una festa, this season check one out. Buon divertimento! Have fun!

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