Today is Father’s Day in Italy. Which means Happy Father’s Day to my father-in-law Bassel! 🙂
A quick recap on why this country celebrates today instead of a nice beach day in the summer: It’s the Feast day of St. Joseph, and for Catholics, he’s the best Dad ever (who could compete with the father of Jesus?). So March it is.
If you look up Father’s Day in Italian, you’ll most likely get the translation: La festa del papà. But as a local paper posted today, in Tuscany, there’s a different title. Babbo is the word for Dad around here, as I explained in a previous post when I was outed as a “Tuscan” when using the term on an airplane.
As Batman scolds Robin: “We say ‘Babbo,’ idiot!” Which uses another local term: bischero. Why? Because the family of the Bischeri used to live in buildings near the back of where the Duomo is now (on the street we used to live). When Florence laid plans to build the Duomo, they offered the family money, etc to move so they could clear the way for the construction. The family said no, a few times, and so those in power burnt their houses down instead, and thus their surname became the Florentine term for fool.
Dante uses babbo instead of papà in the Divine Comedy – one of the works that basically formed the Italian language – and he wrote it right down the street from the Bischeri. Throughout the years though, babbo seemed to only be used more and more in the lower classes, while papà gained strength for it’s fanciness. Tuscans, and some pockets in the surrounding regions, stuck to their guns throughout the centuries – and Babbo is still the norm around here.
According to research, the term papà came into use through French influence (possibly people trying to sound of a higher class – psh, those Venetians) while babbo has much more of onomatopoeic origin in the Italian language – which basically means if a child listens to Italian, some of the first sounds they form will be sounds that are easy to make – like babbo and they can say papà, it’s just not as natural for the Italian tongue – linguistically speaking.
Today, Babbo is a proud Tuscan word, again, as demonstrated by the meme. It’s held like Bostonians hold Wicked. If Batman agrees, and Dante agrees, Babbo must be more correct anyway – auguri to all the Babbi (plural Babbo) of Italy today and every daybabb! <3