Did you know that March is crazy?
Or that in April, it rains for the man and in May for the animal?
And that a windy June soon brings wheat to the farmyard?
Well, this is true according to the months in Italian.
Italian is full of countless seasonal proverbs that highlight the country’s agricultural, religious and even culinary roots. Each month of the year has a specific meaning and saint. As a result, each month carries important cultural weight (especially when deciding what to eat!).
This is what makes learning the months in Italian both useful and fun.
Not only will it improve your linguistic fluency and expand your vocabulary, but you’ll also understand Italian culture in new ways.
In this article, we’ll provide helpful tips on how to learn the months in Italian, how to pronounce each one and the national feasts and holidays that occur throughout the year in Italy.
Get your calendar out, and your pens and plates ready! The Italian months are full of holidays and delicious food.
How to Learn the Months in Italian
Use an Italian Calendar
There are two kinds of calendars in Italian culture: the regular Gregorian calendar and the Saint Day calendar.
Both follow the same months and days of the year, but the Saint Day calendar lists the names of saints for each day. The good news is, both are beneficial for learning the months in Italian!
Download and print an Italian calendar to practice saying the date every morning. To say the date in Italian, follow this simple formula:
Oggi è (today is)… number + month.
For example, oggi è il 27 marzo (today is March 27th).
There are two important things to note. First, the date always comes before the month in Italian.
Second, you don’t capitalize the months in Italian.
For the first day of the month, you use the ordinal number for one: primo. For example, oggi è il primo marzo (today is the first of March).
As you can imagine, knowing the numbers in Italian is important for formulating dates.
A Saint Day calendar can also be a fun way to practice months in Italian. In Italy (and across the Roman Catholic world), each day has an associated saint.
These calendars are culturally important in Italy because people celebrate their name days. Since each saint has a specific day, your birthday also belongs to a saint. The Saint Day that’s also your birthday is known as your “name day.”
In Italian, this is called an onomastico (name day). For example, if your name is Anthony (or Antonio), you celebrate your name day on 13 giugno (June 13).
Practice the months in Italian by consulting the Saint Day calendar and discover which saint shares your birthday (and your friends’)!
Sing Along to Popular Songs
Many school-aged children learn catchy songs to memorize the months in Italian and to remember which months contain 30 days. As you start learning Italian, children’s didactic material can be really helpful.
Listening to the popular children’s song “I Mesi Dell’anno” (The Months of the Year) is an easy way to practice saying each month in Italian.
Do you remember the childhood song that begins: 30 days has September, April, June and November…?
The same song exists in Italian!
As you advance, listening to more age-appropriate songs will provide suitable practice. Try listening to the following Italian songs that feature months of the year:
- The rendition of “La pioggia di marzo” (The Waters of March) from pop singer Mina
- The hit song “Nove Maggio” (May 9th) by Neapolitan rapper Liberato
- The ballad “Agosto” (August) from Indie Rock band “Perturbazione”
Make Flashcards and Take Quizzes
Using the FluentU portal, you can practice the months in Italian along with their pronunciations using subtitled videos. Afterwards, create your own flashcard deck to practice on the go.
When you’re ready to quiz yourself, you can also upload your flashcard deck to the application Quizlet, which will create multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank quizzes to solidify what you’ve learned.
All Year Round: Months in Italian and What Each One Brings
Now it’s time to learn the months in Italian and what’s special about each one!
We’ll also cover a few notable things about each month and how to enjoy them as any Italian would.
Capodanno (New Year’s Day) is a major Italian holiday. On this day, Italians eat lentils and wear red underwear for good luck. Throughout the month of January, Italians greet each other with a spirited, “Auguri,” which means “best wishes.”
Children across Italy also look forward to a visit from the Befana in January.
According to Italian folklore, the Befana is an old witch who visits all Italian children on the Eve of Epiphany (January 5th). If the child has been good, they receive candy in their stockings. If they’ve been bad, the Befana leaves them coal.
Carnevale—the national carnival festival that culminates with Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday)—is the highlight of February in Italy.
Children dress up in costumes and in Venice, adults dress up in elaborate ball gowns and masks. Southern Italians eat rich lasagnas and Chocolate Pig’s Blood Pudding on Fat Tuesday before settling into the 40 days of Lent.
Although Italy may be deep into inverno (winter) during this month, Easter is just around the corner.
“Marzo è pazzo (March is crazy)!” most Italians will eagerly tell you.
The weather is blustery, spring never seems to arrive and the Ides of March (March 15th) marks the day Julius Caesar was assassinated.
One bright spot is that seasonal produce—including fava beans and wild asparagus—arrive in the fresh open markets of Italian piazzas, revealing that spring is not so far away after all.
Italians celebrate La Festa del Papà (Father’ Day) on the Feast of Saint Joseph (March 19) with a special fritter called zeppole di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph fritter).
The first day of April in Italy is called Pesce d’aprile (April Fish) and is similar to April Fool’s Day. After telling a wild joke or fib, Italians then shout, “Pesce d’aprile!” and present you with a plastic fish.
After the 40 somber days of Lent, Italians are ready to celebrate primavera (spring).
The highlight of April for most Italians is Easter.
Pasqua (Easter) means a lot of eating in Italy. Traditionally, Italians eat ricotta salata (sheep’s milk ricotta) and roasted lamb for Easter. In Naples and the Amalfi Coast, a special dessert known as pastiera, consisting of grain, ricotta, egg and citrus essence is a sign of fertility and new life.
The day after Easter in Italy is the beloved Pasquetta (Easter Monday) when the entire country takes to the countryside for grand multi-course picnics in rain or shine!
May 1st in Italy is a national holiday called Festa dei lavoratori (Worker’s Day). Parades, demonstrations and free concerts occur across the country.
By now, primavera (spring) has brightened Italy and many will begin eating cozze (mussels) again. According to local beliefs, you can’t eat mussels in months that have an “r” in them.
May, therefore, means more mussels.
By giugno (June), Italian children are out of school and ready for estate (summer). Thus begins the national obsession with going to the beach to enjoy a bagno (swim).
The summer solstice is on June 21st, leading many Italians to call June the mese del sole (month of sun).
Italians say, “Se piove tra luglio e agosto, piove miele, olio e mosto” (If it rains between July and August, it rains honey, oil and wine must).
With humid summers across most of the Italian peninsula, many locals complain, “fa caldissimo!” (it’s so hot). The burst of July rains not only provides cool relief but also improves the olive and grape harvests coming in the fall.
The most important summer holiday in Italy is Ferragosto on August 15.
On this Catholic holiday, Italians celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This means big family meals and fireworks. Nearly the entire country flocks to the beach in August and most local businesses in major urban centers close.
September brings the tomato harvest across most of Southern Italy. During this time, families can and preserve thousands of tomatoes to last the whole year.
Children go back to school in mid-September, completing the national ritual of the rientro (return), representing the end of summer.
Many Italians retreat to the mountains in the month of October, where they forage for wild castagna (chestnuts) and funghi (mushroom).
This is also the time of the vendemmia (grape harvest).
The Festa dei morti (All Soul’s Day) is on November 2nd in Italy. On this day, Italians visit the graves of deceased loved ones and light red votives to commemorate the dead.
By November, autunno (fall) is in full swing. The festa di San Martino (Feast of Saint Martin) on November 11th is an exciting day, with vintners opening their first vini novelli (young wines) of the season.
And thus begins the merry season of Natale (Christmas).
Families display intricate presepe (nativity crèches) and wait until midnight of December 24th to place Baby Jesus in his manger.
December in Italy is also known for family time. And in Southern Italy, Italians celebrate the Vigilia (Christmas Eve) with a feast of fish.
Now that you’ve learned the mesi (months) and stagioni (seasons) in Italian, it’s time to truly experience them. The best way to start is to practice daily. Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself and use free language apps online.
Before you know it, you’ll be experiencing each month of the year as if you were already in bella Italia!
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