August 15th is Ferragosto in Italy, a holiday only trumped by Christmas and celebrated by everyone in the country. It goes way back, to the reign of the Roman Empire and before the times of Christ, initiated by the emperor Augustus to celebrate the the hard work of the harvest. Each region, each town celebrated the day in its own unique way, with enormous amounts of food being the one thing every festivity had in common.
Today, Ferragosto is more like a migration, with most Italians heading to the mountains or the beach to escape August's oppressive heat. We're usually there, in bumper to bumper traffic on the Autostrada, doing the eight hour drive from Piacenza to Lacedonia. It's worth it. Two weeks of eating and drinking and dancing and singing and connecting undistracted with friends and family is priceless.
Sadly, we did not live up to the extravagance of the holiday this year. No trip to Italy. The idea of vacationing is laughable. Nor did we prepare an elaborate meal here at home, instead opting for very simple pan seared salmon, white rice and salad after the thrill of watching Asia ride her first wave during a surfing lesson.
Our focus is on setting down roots in Maui and, truth be told, every day could be Ferragosto here. Every day is Christmas, every day is like the Fourth of July because we are so happy. Yes, it's difficult, sometimes unbearable, without our family and friends but we are breaking new ground, defining new territory. There will be different ways of celebrating or sometimes, like today, we won't celebrate at all. We are redefining traditions in our own unique way.