Happy La Festa della Mamma!
Once again, Mother’s Day is just around the corner! We love to celebrate the most important women in our lives and show them how much they mean to us. As it turns out, this sentiment is echoed in Italy, where La Festa della Mamma—the Italian phrase for “Mother’s Day”—is widely celebrated on the second Sunday of May, much like American Mother’s day. La Festa della Mamma was first celebrated in Italy back in 1957 at the initiative of the parish priest of the Tordibetto church in Assisi, Umbria. Mothers are some of the most important figures in Italian life—so much so that Italian men are often referred to as mammoni (meaning “mama’s boys”), so sure enough, Mother’s Day quickly caught on. By 1958, the Italian senate had made the holiday official. Nowadays, it’s a very important event for many Italians!
A widely known quote throughout Italy that encapsulates the spirit of La Festa della Mamma and demonstrates to value Italians place on their mothers translates to “There’s just one day in which to remember who gave me life, but there are 364 days for me to make you proud of that gift.” This devotion to mammas culminates in the ways Italians celebrate La Festa della Mamma. On this day, Italian mothers are recognized for their reputation of harboring a nurturing, caring nature. Families reunite from all corners of the country in order to give their moms the best celebration possible, and if anyone is unable to attend, they’ll still be sure to make a call and send a card or flowers. Mamma is not to lift a finger during her special day, so any cooking and cleaning is left to the rest of the family. La Festa della Mamma is much less commercialized than American Mother’s Day, and this is reflected in a number of ways. Many sentimental, homemade gifts will be given, and she may receive cards and letters bearing the phrases “Ti voglio tanto bene” (I love you so much) or “Sei la mamma migliore del mondo” (You’re the best mom in the world). Additionally, in a wonderful show of affection, children will typically prepare a special poem for their mothers at school and then recite it in the presence of the whole family.
The day’s activities are mainly centered on family togetherness, and the main event is a family lunch. There’s no set rules on whether or not the meal must be homemade or not; any family is as likely to go out as they are to cook. As long as the family is together, celebrating their wonderful mamma, then it’s a proper La Festa della Mamma celebration. A practice that does remain consistent, however, is the manner in which the meal is typically topped off: a lovely heart-shaped cake with a liqueur coffee!
All in all, Italians love and value their mammas, the Italian Mother’s Day experience reflects this greatly! This Mother’s Day, be sure to call or visit your mother, or at the very least, reflect on the impact she has made in your life. Buona Festa della Mamma!