Italian Word of the Day: Festa (party)

Are you a party-goer? Then you’re going to love today’s word of the day!

The word festa can mean a number of things in English but one of the first translations you’ll certainly come across when living in Italy is party or celebration.

IPA: /ˈfɛs.ta/
  • festa di compleanno = birthday party
  • festa di Natale = Christmas party
  • festa di Capodanno = New Year’s party
  • festa di matrimonio = wedding celebration

Ho ricevuto un invito ad una festa.

I received an invitation to a party.

Festa can also be used to describe extended periods of celebration, festivals or special days of commemoration.

  • festa della birra = beer festival
  • festa della musica = music festival
  • festa di paese = town festival
  • Festa della Repubblica = Republic Day / Italian National Day
  • La Festa della Mamma = Mother’s Day

Non dimenticarti che domani è la festa della mamma!

Don’t forget that tomorrow is Mother’s Day!

Finally it can be used in reference to a holiday or day off work.

  • festa nazionale = national holiday
  • giorni di festa = holidays

Oggi mi sono preso un giorno di festa. Ne avevo proprio bisogno.

Today I took a day off. I really needed it.

Festa can be transformed into the verb to party/celebrate by placing fare in front. An alternative is to use the actual verb festeggiare.

Ho l’intenzione di fare festa fino a notte fonda.

I plan to party until late in the night.

The word festa appears within a number of nouns and adjectives related to partying and celebrating such as:

  • festoso = merry, in festive spirits (often used to describe friendly dogs that happily come up and greet you)
  • festaiolo = a party animal, someone who often hosts parties, or someone who is fun-loving and festive
  • festeggiamento = celebration, festivity, merrymaking
  • festività = festivity
  • festeggiato/a = a guest of honour, birthday boy/girl
  • festone = garland

The adjective festivo is often used as an alternative to festa to describe non-working days or holidays.

  • giorno festivo = public holiday
  • giorni festivi = holidays
  • turno festivo = holiday shift (at work)

Finally, festa can be used in a negative way with the verb fare (to do) or conciare (to thrash): fare le festa or conciare per le feste. Either can mean an act of violence or damage towards someone or something.

Se non rimedi a questa situazione, quei tipi ti conceranno per le feste.

If you don’t find a solution, those guys will give you a thrashing.

The expression fare le feste has a positive connotation too. It is often used to describe a dog’s happiness when its owner comes home.

Guarda quante feste fa questo cane al suo padrone.

Look at how happy this dog is to see its owner.

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