On April 25th, 1945, thousands of Italians across the nation rose up in protest of the Fascist tyrants who had previously been ruling over the peninsula.
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They were successful, and soon thereafter the fascist usurpers were expelled from the Italian government, Nazi occupiers from the Italian mainland, and just and democratic rule established throughout the country.
Since then, Italians everywhere have celebrated April 25th as the Festa della Liberazione Liberation Day – in commemoration of the new Italy that was birthed then. In doing so, they remember those brave freedom fighters who lost their lives struggling against the regime, and hope to honor their courage and resolve.
Today, Liberation Day is characterized by public parades, waving the Italian flag, and an endless chorus of Italy’s beloved song of liberation, Bella Ciao. Public festivals, frequently including shows, merchant stalls, and folk music, are common throughout the nation, and children are excused from school to enjoy the festivities. Different towns have varying traditions, and its even common for foreign residents to show their own national pride in remembering their ancestor’s own struggles against tyranny. In addition, all public buildings are closed for the duration of the holiday, as well as the vast majority of businesses.
Uniquely among victory celebrations in Europe, many Italians use the event of Liberation Day to protest against other injustices across the world. Travelling through Italy on April 25th, its common to see protests against environmental abuses, gender inequality, and the thousands of other social issues plaguing the modern world. At the same time, however, these protests are rarely angry or violent: instead, they are infused with the desire to honor those who gave their lives so many years ago by making today’s world a better place, and to demonstrate the courageous nature of the Italian character.