What in Italy is called “100 giorni”, is the official countdown begins to the final High School state examination and its traditions are repeated by students in many areas and in many different ways.
For istance, there are those (very, very few) who begin to study as hard as they can, others who coudn’t care less until about 10 days before the exam, when they’ll begin to study night and day, 24 hours a day, and a large majority of those seeking to fully enjoy the last moments of freedom with parties, trips or traditions.
The most common trend seems to be a “great escape”, a trip with friends, just a few days to escape the routine before jumping headlong into the first of the “neverending exams” of life.
The money? It must be strictly borrowed from passers-by on the streets. These days, in some Italian cities, crowds of students go around begging for the 100 days!
The most famous rite come from Pisa, and is “touch the lizard” in Piazza dei Miracoli. The bronze lizard with two tails is carved on the central door of the Cathedral, opposite the Battistero, and it is believed it will bring good luck to the student who touches it.
One thing is certain: in the years caress after caress the little creature has been very popular, making a fine show with his golden color on the door that was built by the Florentine architect Raffaele Pagni, for Grand Duke Ferdinando I, after a disastrous fire that in 1595 destroyed the original door created by Bonanno Pisano in 1180. According to the legend, touching the small figures on the left side of the door, a dog, a frog and a lizard, the most beautiful dreams and desires will come true.
The practice is so widespread that, in order to avoid damage, on the day when students flock to Piazza dei Miracoli the lucky reptile is cordoned off!
However, alternative rites are possible, as doing a hundred laps of a building, climbing a hundred steps, give a hundred kisses or handshakes to strangers.
Very popular is also a trip to the beach, weather permitting, and the shoreline becomes a sort of virtual board, where students write the desired mark on the sand and wait for the waves to cancel it.
Another very common practice is to spend a night at a pizzeria or restaurant in the company of teachers, above all the least sympathetic ones. Students are supposed to offer the dinner, perhaps with the not too veiled intention to “buy” the sympathy of the teachers.
Also religion is not forgotten: hundreds of prospective school-leavers have recourse to the intercession of Saints.
Among the most famous rites there is the pilgrimage to the sanctuary of San Gabriele dell’Addolorata, the patron of young people and students, at Isola del Gran Sasso d’Italia, where students have their pens blessed, and wear commemorative T-shirts, wishing for this to be the last year in High School!
Images from web