What is La Vendemmia?

What is La Vendemmia?

Wherever there’s a planted field there’s a harvest, and around the world that time is bustling with activity in the community. The work isn’t done, but the bounty of hard labour is being reaped and everyone can imagine how good it tastes.

In Italy, “la vendemmia” refers to the fall grape harvest, a time that’s difficult to predict since it’s not something that can be scheduled, it happens when the grapes are ready at the peak of their ripeness. In every region of Italy, the focus is on getting the grapes off the vine and into the vats. When the work is done there are large tables filled with food, wine and hungry friends who worked hard with the promise of the season’s best meal waiting for them.

In Ottawa’s Little Itlay neighbourhood, you will find other nationalities represented in addition to Italian.  Here is what harvest is in their language:

China: Zhongqiu ??? (CHONG-choh)
France: la récolte (RAY-colt)
Germany: Ernte (URN-tuh)
India: Pongal (PAHN-gah-leh)
Italy: la vendemmia (VEN-dem-mee-ah)
Ireland: fómhar
South Africa: oes (OOS)
Turkey: hasat (hah-SAHT)
Vietnam: thu ho?ch (THO-whah)

How do these countries celebrate the harvest? In Germany, aside from the famous Oktoberfest, is the world’s largest wine festival called Winemarkt. Originally a meeting place for farmers and winemakers in Bad Dürkheim, the wine & food sales attracted pilgrims and eventually grew into a celebration. In Southern India, the Pongal festival celebrating harvest in January is both a festival of bounty and rebirth – old clothes are burned alongside overflowing rice pots. For the mid-autumn Zhongqiu, also known as the Moon festival, in China, family members gather to celebrate the harvest moon and share moon cakes, sweet pastries filled with red beans and almond paste.

No matter where the harvest celebration takes place, it centres on gratitude for bounty and coming together in community. We invite you to come to Ottawa’s Preston Street to experience La Vendemmia – a fun filled four day festival from Thursday September 22 to Sunday September 25th. Up and down the street, the neighbourhood will be alive with activities for everyone.  

The complete festival schedule for Ottawa’s La Vendemmia is at www.lavendemmiaottawa.com

We look forward to seeing you!

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