Yearly festivals, range from food and wine tasting celabrations to elaborate commemorations of patron saints and national recurrences. Festivals and fairs abound, especially in the South of Italy
Popular traditions are the mirror of the soul of the Italian people, reflecting this country's entire history, with its domination by others, invasions and constant danger, hence the geographical and social isolation of mountain populations and a frugal but dignified family economy.
Behind each tradition there often lies a vein of fine irony, the capacity to accept the negative aspects of life taking things philosophically. At the basis of each tradition is an attitude of reliving the past, a sort of gentle melancholy bordering on regret and a tendency to a certain simpleness : the absolute belief that good will be rewarded and devil punished.
Pagan tradition often surface, but are firmly associated with Christianity. The saints, and even the Holiest of Holies, are always shown as decidedly human, almost familiar, and the person venerated acts and behaves just like anybody else in the village. Not surprisingly, the most interesting, original traditions endure in the inland villages where the outer world has been much slower to penetrate.
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