Folk Dance – Italian

Folk Dance- Festa Italiana

Every year during the second week of September, my family and other Italian friends have this festival called Festa Italiana, or Italian Festival.  It is weird because I am not totally sure why we do it, but anyways, we have this certain dance.  Before I tell about the dance, wow this is embarrassing, ok.  So, my mom always makes this old peasants outfit.  It is this white shirt with this red skirt, and I have to wear these special shoes.  All the people do this, but my mom loves to actually make the costume for some reason.  So, once we get to the festival with our costumes on and eat a little bit of course, we all get on the dance floor area.  There is one lady on the microphone that yells out the dance steps and we all have to participate.  It is actually really embarrassing, but it’s funny because we all do it.  I can’t really explain each step.  It kind of just comes to me as she says it because I have done it for so long.  I started this Festa when I was 11, and have continued ever since.  We also have Italian food and other Italian things to do.  It is actually pretty cool.

Jessica seemed embarrassed to tell me this wonderful story at first, but as she opened up, it was clear that she enjoyed the festival more than she thought.  Her face lit up when she spoke of the dance.  She wasn’t so happy about the costume though.  She wishes her mom would “relax and let her buy something herself”.  I asked her what she thought of the whole experience and she said, “ It is embarrassing to talk about, but I actually do enjoy the festivities.  Once you’re their with family and friends and they are all participating, you realize why your there and why your Italian”.  She also commented on the fact that she is not sure how the festival began.  She is just proud it continues every September.

This festival was very interesting to me.  I think it is a way for Jessica, her family, and Italian friends to see each other all together once each year.  Also, it serves as a way to celebrate their Italian heritage. The presence of Italian food and dance connects them with their culture.  Whether the dance is authentic or not, it makes the people involved feel more Italian.  This will imbed a feeling of pride that will drive them to celebrate their heritage year after year.

Jessica said the festival happens every year in September.  This could have something to do with the fall of the fascist regime in September of 1943.  September of that year was when Mussolini was arrested.

Jessica noted that her mother loved to make her costume.  I know this bothers her a great deal, but I think this connects her and her mother in a special way.  I believe it is supposed to make Jessica realize the importance of her Italian heritage and the effort people go through to preserve it.