The Italian Almanac

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Black Cat Day

Animal lovers across Italy will be celebrating the much-maligned figure of the black cat. The country's first Black Cat Day, organized by the Italian Association in Defence of Animals and the Environment (AIDAA), has planned a number of events in Italy's major cities. The focus will be on Milan, with a conference explaining the work by AIDAA and other animal associations and a new exhibition of paintings featuring black cats.

Owners of black cats will be encouraged to bring their pets to gatherings in Rome and Milan, to attend outdoor picnics. There will also be an awards ceremony for people or groups that have particularly helped keep black cats safe. In addition, Italian songwriter and actor Don Backy has devoted one of his classic pieces to raise awareness of the day

Black cats get a bad rap in many of the world's myths but the situation is particularly problematic in Italy, according to AIDAA. It claims that thousands of black felines vanish each year as a result of superstition. Black cats have long received a poor press in the West, mainly because of their association with witchcraft. Witch hunters in past centuries believed black cats were demonic familiars, and many unlucky pets burned at the stake along with their owners.