Festa del Grillo
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Festa del Grillo 2014



The Cricket Festival

When: To be confirmed
Where: Florence, Italy

On Ascension Day (ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven) in Florence, crowds gather in the Cascine Park along the banks of the River Arno – to celebrate Festa del Grillo, or the Cricket Festival, the chirping cricket traditionally marking the arrival of spring.

Lots of stalls are set up which sell thousands of little crickets and other souvenirs, and there are musical performances throughout the day. Children bring crickets from the park and hang them in cages at their windows. People in Florence believed that if the cricket chirps to them, they'll have good luck.


Origin of the Cricket Festival

The tradition of the festival of cricket dates back to the time of festivities celebrating May and the arrival of spring, when young men used to give a real live cricket as a symbol of good luck, to their beloved. According to the popular belief, a "chirping" grillo (cricket) would bring good luck.

It is said that the cricket had become a symbol of spring, and so the gathering was just in his reverence. Another belief goes that the cricket was a harmful insect for the rural areas, and therefore should be removed with the highest number possible. In this sense the celebration is taken in relation to the cricket, which is to decrease the number.


Festivities

Though earlier people used to catch their own crickets, today, Festa del Grillo is celebrated by a traditional fair where one can buy the crickets along with other mementos too. Crickets are available in vibrantly tinted wood, cane, or wire cages, where they are kept with a large lettuce leaf to sustain them. However, this custom has lost its charm over time due to the regulation on the protection of animals, effectively prohibiting the sale of crickets. The insects have now been substituted with synthetic ones; some have electronic mechanism to imitate the chirping sound.




 
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