The following article, written by Francesca Montillo, appears on The Lazy Italian.
In Italy, I have come to believe that you don’t need much reason to celebrate life. It seems like at least a few times a month there’s cause to get together, eat cake and be merry! For instance, there are so many “Saint” holidays in Italy: St. Francis, St. Antonio, St. Giuseppe and of course, St. Giovanni (or St. John the Baptist), which is observed on June 24th.
Among Christians, it is believed that Jesus was a follower of John and that John baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. As stated, Italy has many such religious holidays celebrating saints and depending on the location and region, events can include parades, fireworks and processions; many of which are jovial, while some are subdued.
By far, the biggest cities that celebrate the feast day of St. John include Florence, Genoa and Turin, as St. John is their patron saint. If you’re not familiar with what a patron saint is, they are basically protectors who intercede on a city’s wellbeing on behalf of God. Just about every small town in Italy has a patron saint, which is celebrated at various times during the year. It’s a comfort for many residents to feel that their own city or town is under divine protection. Continue reading at The Lazy Italian.