On February 2nd the feast of the Candelora (Candlemas), celebrates the Purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. On this day, priests bless the candles (candele) that will be used during Mass and other religious ceremonies throughout the year.
The day of the Candelora is traditionally used as a reference day to predict the weather for the remainder of the winter season. Many Italian provers referring to the weather are associated with this day. For example:
Per la santa Candelora, o che nevichi o che plora, dell'inverno siamo fuora; s'egli è sole o solicello, siamo ancora a mezzo il verno
For holy Candlemas, if it snows or it rains, we are out of winter; if it's sunny or half sunny, we are still in the middle of winter
Carneval is celebrated in many cities of Italy, with celebrations usually starting on the first Sunday of February and lasting until the end of February or the beginning of March.
The most famous Carneval of all is of course, the Carneval of Venice. It ends 40 days before Easter, on Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday.
Other important carnevals in Italy are the ones in Viareggio and in Fano, the latter being one of the oldest carnival of Italy, first attested in 1347.
Another important Carneval festival is that of Ivrea, with its 'Battle of the Oranges'. This peculiar celebration involves the townspeople, divided into nine combat teams, who throw oranges at each other during the traditional carnival days.
San Valentino, la festa degli Innamorati (Valentine's day)
Like in many Western countries, love is celebrated in Italy on February 14. In Italy, Valentine's Day, just like Halloween, is sometimes seen as a commercial holiday imported from US. However, both feasts, as many others, find in fact their roots in Europe. In recent times, lovers in Italy celebrate Valentine's Day by going out for dinners at a pizzeria or ristorante and exchanging gifts like rose, perfume, chocolates and diamonds depending on the age and taste of the person. Many Italian couples are getting engaged on Valentine's Day.
Saint Faustino Day
San Faustino is the equivalent of San Valentino, but for singles, celebrated on February 15.
Almond Blossom Festival (Agrigento)
The event showcases folklorist groups and musical bands from diverse parts of the world as well as fireworks. Tourists can admire the almond blossoms in the beautiful setting of the Valley of the Temples.
San Remo Festival
Held annually from from Teatro Ariston in San Remo on the Mediterranean coast of western Liguria. Usually referred to as Festival di Sanremo, or outside Italy as Sanremo Music Festival, it consists of a competition amongst previously unreleased songs. Since 2010 songs in Italian dialect are allowed to compete, and inclusion of foreign artists' work has also been welcomed.
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Photos of the YourGuidetoItaly.com banner (from left to right): (on campus) Sean Locke, (red deckchair) Valentina Jori, (chianti botlle) Donald Gruener, (Vitruvian man) Jodie Coston, (coliseum), Roberto A Sanchez, (Fiat 500) Luca di Filippo. Photo of 'Rialto bridge' by S. Greg Panosian. Italy regions image by Frizio.