“Festa” is the Italian word for party, celebration, and “fare la festa a qualcuno”, at first glance seems to mean “to fix a party for someone”. Well… it doesn’t. Learn some new conversational Italian sentences.
It is amazing to see how a humble preposition could change the whole meaning of a sentence. This is true in every language, and in Italian there’s a particular idiomatic sentence that means the exact opposite of what it seems. If I wanted to fix a party for someone, I would say “preparare (or fare) una festa per qualcuno”.
“Fare la festa a qualcuno”, where qualcuno, someone, could be replaced by any name, actually means “to kill someone” or in modern times, to ruin someone’s plans or life. This modo di dire (idiom) comes from the old days when executions were quite frequent in Italian piazza’s, the very same places where you, as a tourist, enjoy a refreshing spritz aperitif under a shiny Italian sun.
People back then used to assemble together in public places and enjoy the execution, just like if it was a festa, a public joyful celebration, with the remarkable fact that the guest of honor was not really happy of such sudden attention. In the same spirit, if I say “In ufficio hanno fatto la festa a Mario”, I probably want to say – with a dose of sarcasm – that Mario was fired, or had a big problem at work.
A similar expression, and possibly more fun, is “fare le scarpe a qualcuno”, to “make the shoes” for someone. It means that someone organized a plot against someone else, with the intent of burn the reputation and replace the person in question, out of malice. As you can imagine, it’s used very often at work.
Again, the origin of this expression comes from the old tradition of making a brand new pair of shoes for any dead person before he or she was buried. A sort of present, to make the last journey more comfortable. When I say, “mi hanno fatto le scarpe”, it means that someone organized a cold plan to throw me under the bus.
Are there any idiomatic expressions such as fare la festa a qualcuno in your language? Feel free to add your own or ask questions. Grazie!