Every cricket has its day

The Festa del grillo (cricket festival) is probably the most loved traditional festival by Florentines. It is suppose to take place fourty days after Easter but for practical reasons it is held on the Sunday following those fourty days.

The tradition dates back to the calendimaggio, a day when young Florentines used to give their lovers budding tree branches and little crickets in cages. A gift of a cricket is a cherished one, for it is considered a protector of the home and a forebearer of luck, wealth, marriage and good weather.

Though the origins of this festival may have been forgotten, what is remembered is how fun it is to go to the Cascine park on this particular day. Vendors are lined up with their homemade colorful cages and a bucket full of crickets. The cages come in a huge variety of sizes and shapes, from the modest wire cage to a wooden home any Florentine would die to own himself.

Crickets are bought by Florentines of all ages and on the following nights, before they are set free, the streets are lined with cages on window sills and sweet songs fill the air.

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