Tuesday, June 02, 2009

the birth of a nation

Happy June 2nd. It's a holiday here, just in case you didn't know. It commemorates the day in history when the Italians voted to have a republic instead of a monarchy. By this point Fascism was already out, they didn't even need a vote on that. This happened in 1946...1946. That's only 63 years ago.

Having lived here, off and on, for going on 10 years now (which is approximately 1/6th of the life of their republic), I still find the government, and the system there of a little, shall we say, confusing. And the holidays...forget it.

Does anyone else besides me in the US have to think for a good bit before saying whether Memorial Day is in May or September. And therefore, Labor Day? And then...does any American have to think about what is celebrated on July 4th?

Last Friday I reminded Augusto that Tuesday is a holiday.

"Da vero?"

"Yeah, really it is."

"Ah si! e' ... e'... la festa per...."

"the republic."

"ah, si si si. La republica"

This is interesting to me. Augusto is not a stupid guy...not at all. Really, I hope he isn't, he's just put the roof on my house. He hasn't, however, had many years of school. Even so, if I pressed him, he'd probably be able to tell me a bit of history surrounding this holiday, even if he hadn't remembered that it was happening today. But ask any Italian when Labor Day is and they can tell you. Any Italian, regardless of education or life experience, job, position or socio-economic status.

I just find this interesting. As Americans, as a country built on people, waves of peoples from all over the world who have sought refuge in our country because they "wanted work". The same country where 40 hours a week is really part time because either you A)you are in some salaried position where your contract says 40 hours but you know you have to do 80 or get fired or B) you are in a non-management position and you have to have a second job, above the 40 hours of your first job, to make ends meet. It's interesting to me, in our country of workers and work ethic and work-aholism, Labor Day is less celebrated than Independence Day. Strange. Interesting.

It would be easy writing to continue this post with the cultural generalizations that I've already thread throughout this post to now say something like "even weirder is that in this Mediterranean culture of working as little as possible they always remember Labor Day" But I'm not going to go there because my muratore (aka: Augusto) worked his ass off this morning even though it was a holiday and he had a family lunch to go to where, no doubt, he was the grill chef.

So, in conclusion to this post, in case you haven't been tracking where I'm going...well, I don't have a conclusion. And it's ok if you haven't been tracking because I'm not going any where. Just sliding around a little in observations.

Happy Festa della Republica.

PS. Also, Happy Labor Day, a little late since it happened here on May 1st and I missed it. Maybe it's just me.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:15 PM

    Lynn, July 4th is actually our one legal explosives, gunfire and alcohol at the same time day. It's the ultimate guys holiday. Labor Day is just "Thank God the kids are finally back in school" day. PGC