Posted on 20 November 2019 in Italy. According to tradition, Santa Lucia was a martyr who took food to persecuted Christians held in the catacombs. The feast seems to have its root in southern Italy and was bought over to the USA by Italian immigrants in … There, it's called The Vigil, or La Vigilia, and marks the birth of baby Jesus at midnight. Oh Bej! Italian traditions for Christmas. For the whole month of December you’ll find food shops stocked with seasonal goodies. The block of wood is chosen carefully and is usually the piece where the roots of the tree fuse into the trunk, representing the union of the earth and the sky, as well as the unity of the family. Included in this ‘no meat’ holiday eve is Christmas eve. Italy is one of Europe’s most picturesque countries and it is, of course, even more beautiful at Christmas. The eating of sweets and chocolates has become popular worldwide, and sweeter Christmas delicacies include the German stollen, marzipan cake or … One of the most visually spectacular Italian Christmas traditions is the Fiaccole di Natale, a torchlight procession on Christmas Eve. Across Italy, Natale tends to be a family-centric holiday, a time to stay at home (and eat!) Christmas Around the World: Activities & Traditions from Italy Today, we have 34 bloggers who are shaing some great information about the holidays in various countries plus a FREE printable e-book for the kids so they can 'travel' to each country during the month. Il cotechino(sausage, similar to salami) 3. Christmas is inspired by traditions from the Romans, Celtics, Norse, Druids and other pagan cultures. Some, though, date the beginning of the season at the Immaculate Conception, on December 8, while others still start the observance on December 6 with the celebration of San Nicola, or St. Nicholas, the patron saint of mariners and the weak, from whom the tradition of St. Nicholas and Babbo Natale originates. In former times, the shepherds and flutists were the shepherds who descended from the mountains in order to entertain people with Christmas melodies. The Festival of Nemoralia, commonly known as the Festival of Torches, was celebrated by ancient Romans in honor of Diana, goddess of the countryside, hunt, and moon, but was later adopted by Catholics as The Feast of the Assumption. Throughout Italy, Christmas tends to be a family-centred vacation, as the saying goes “Natale con i tuoi Pasqua con chi vuoi” (Christmas with your family, Easter with whom you want).. Most everyone in Italy decorates a tree and hangs stockings, though, of course, traditions vary and morph. Please note some events have been altered or canceled for 2020, so check below and event websites for details. Of all of those. Naples is one of the best cities to visit for Nativity displays. Lore has it that the Befana, an old witch-looking lady on a broom with a pointy hat and long skirt, was invited by the Magi to help them take gifts to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. Even the most common Italian Christmas traditions will vary from region to region. For Christmas trees, you can stop by the city's central Saint Peter's Square for the largest of the bunch alongside a life-sized nativity scene that's usually unveiled on Christmas Eve. It's known as The Feast of the Seven Fishes ('Esta dei Sette Pesci' in Italian). On Christmas Eve, many Italian-American families celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a meal consisting of seven different types of seafood or one or two seafood varieties prepared in seven ways. Most Italians give and receive gifts on the 12th day of Christmas, January 6th. Festivities last from about the 6th of December until Epiphany, the 6th of January. Throughout the market season, Babbo Natale will make appearances for picture-taking opportunities and there will be a life-size nativity scene set up in the piazza later in December. And although culinary traditions are just as subject to change as any other aspect of culture, at Christmas the table boasts typical regional dishes, prepared just the way Nonna used to make. Christmas is a major holiday in Italy… which means Italians celebrate lots of great, unique Christmas traditions! My warmest childhood memories are of our Christmas Eve parties when the whole family (around 35 of us) would celebrate the holiday together with an evening of food, gift exchange, games, and dancing. Did you know that St. Francis of Assisi created the first live nativity scene in 1223AD in the beautiful town of Greccio in Rieti? Across Italy, Natale tends to be a family-centric holiday, a time to stay at home (and eat!) by Amber. Learn more about Italian Christmas traditions in our blog. There is no traditional meal eaten by Italians on Christmas Day – the food usually consists of a grand meat dish accompanied by plenty of snacks. For more details, see our, Unique Christmas Traditions to See in Italy, Walk Through Christmas Villages in Venice and Milan, See the Umbria Region: Father Christmas, Blues Music, and Trees, Explore Rome: Lights, a Market, and Presepes, Pray in Vatican City: Midnight Mass and Other Holiday Sermons, Visit Naples: Nativity Displays, Bagpipes, and a Market, Enjoy Torino: Lights and the Mercatino di Natale, Romance in Verona: Lights and a German-Style Market. Other large trees can be found at the Piazza Venezia and next to the Colosseum, both of which provide excellent photo opportunities for your holiday trip abroad. Extended Celebrations Rome's Piazza Navona hosts a big Christmas Market, though it's heavy on cheap souvenirs. For dessert, one must have cookies of various kinds, cavallucci and ricciarelli, frittelle or strufoli (fried donuts), pandoro or panettone, torrone or panforte, fried fruit, and, of course, grappa. Enjoy some of Italy's customs and food and get them ready for a trip of a lifetime! Turkey 4. The feast, also known as La Vigilia in some circles, occurs on Christmas Eve and is a grand meal, including—you guessed it—seven different types of seafood, ranging from shrimp and octopus to clams and cod. The Torino Mercatino di Natale (Christmas market) was canceled for 2020. But communal meeting points of celebration remain important for everyone. when is Christmas in Italy. It is common practice for Italian children write letters to Babbo Natale(Father Christmas) asking for Christmas presents. Throughout the whole country, Natale tends to be a family-centric holiday. ☃christmas traditions in italy☃ if you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? Stalls selling a variety of merchandise are open all week and on the weekends there's music and entertainment for children. By giving out gifts, the lady is often compared to Santa Claus. Torino also holds a Mercatino di Natale during December in the Borgo Dora area. Christmas in Italy is also a time of traditions, with customs varying from region to region, particularly in relation to festive Italian food, with universal favourites including sweet Christmas breads or cakes such as panettone and pandoro.However, unlike northern Europe and the US, the main Christmas meal in Italy is based around fish - multiple courses of it - on Christmas Eve. If you're traveling to Italy during this festive season, you're certain to run into a variety of special events, celebrations, and holiday markets throughout the country. In Bologna and Genova the presepe tradition manifested in similar but singular ways, also depicting special local scenes and their own particular set of characters (for example, in Genova's nativity scenes there is always a beggar; sometimes there are patron saints). with loved ones. Italian Christmas traditions. From tree decorations to "Presepe" - Italian nativity scenes - and Christmas food and drink, it's all here. Italians truly feel the atmosphere since end days of November month, but the Christmas time formally starts on 8th December, the Day of Spotless Beginning. Why Do Italians Consider Friday the 17th Unlucky? For Christmas Eve, for those who do not fast, the main tradition, of course, is fish, though in Piemonte and other mountainous places, people who want to observe some kind of dietary sacrifice have a vegetarian Christmas Eve. with loved ones.But customs also vary from city to city, from exactly which dishes are served, to when to open presents, making every region an interesting place to enjoy the holidays. Christmas Eve is also a special time for bonfires and get togethers with family and friends. In Abbadia di San Salvatore, near Montalcino, the Fiaccole di Natale or Festival of Christmas Torches is celebrated on Christmas Eve with carols and torchlight processions in memory of the shepherds from the first Christmas Eve. Santa has begun to make an appearance in recent years, but there are several unique Christmas traditions in Italy that stretch back centuries and are still celebrated today. Christmas Traditions in the Italy – observed in different ways Italians truly feel the atmosphere since end days of November month, but the Christmas time formally starts on 8th December, the Day of Spotless Beginning. Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Alps, on the other hand, celebrates this religious holiday with a skiers' torchlight parade at midnight on Christmas Eve. The Wonderland Village and Oh Bej! The Piazza Navona Christmas market was canceled for 2020. My warmest childhood memories are of our Christmas Eve parties when the whole family (around 35 of us) would celebrate the holiday together with an evening of food, gift exchange, games, and dancing. Naples also holds a December Christmas market near Via San Gregorio Armeno, known for its many nativity workshops. The Christmas season in Italy is traditionally celebrated between Christmas Eve (December 24) and Epiphany (January 6). But the special thing about Christmas in Italy are the shared and joyful traditions of families and communities, be they religious rituals, artisanal and artistic customs, or gastronomical traditions—and there are certainly plenty of those. As for books, our primary resource was Tomie dePaola’s The Legend of Old Befena. Published on December 9, 2014 + Share. The event features a market, an ice-skating rink, and entertainment. In most places, it's enough to gather around a table for a dinner, some wine, and a game of cards or tombola (by the way, there is no such thing as the "urn of fate" at Christmas). Families typically get together and enjoy a meal which is typically followed by a visit to a live nativity scene and then midnight mass. Christmas, as it is celebrated in Italy, has two origins: the familiar traditions of Christianity blended with the pagan traditions predating the Christmas era. Italian traditions for Christmas. Christmas in Italy – 50 Fun Facts About the Italian Holiday Season . On this day numerous Italian families beautify … Other Christmas fairs and markets are often held in cities that also host larger events or attractions in honor of the holiday season. But customs also vary from city to city, from exactly which dishes are served, to when to open presents, making every region an interesting place to enjoy the holidays.. For many Italian-American families a big Christmas Eve meal of different fish dishes is now a very popular tradition! You can opt-out at any time. The festive season is well and truly upon us. More than 12 miles (20 kilometers) of streets and squares are illuminated by some of the best light artists in Europe from late November through early January for the annual holiday lighting displays across the city. The city of Ivrea is greatly known for the Battle of Oranges this should refer to Napoleone 's acts. Christmas Food. A time to stay at home (and eat!) In Naples, perhaps best known now in the world of presepe art, the nativity scenes, made of a variety of materials, include figurines of colorful pagan and sacred figures—from shepherds and fishermen to street vendors, priests, and magi—dressed in cloth costumes and sculpted in fine detail. In some towns there are processions. Babbo Natale (Father Christmas, or the equivalent of Santa Claus) makes the rounds on the night before Christmas, but another important day for gift-giving is Epiphany on January 6. Italy has countless centuries-old Christmas traditions, but one of the most captivating is the living nativity. ♡ Writers Team Whether you're taking a Rome tour or skiing in the Italian Alps, here are 8 Christmas traditions from all across Italy! Mar 8, 2017 - If you're spending Christmas in Italy, or if you want to know how to bring Italian Christmas traditions to your home, this is the place to be. Family is, without a doubt, Italy’s most important value, and celebrations, especially Italian Christmas traditions, do much to reiterate that bond. An illuminated arch with a huge star points to the Christmas market, and there will also be a life-sized nativity scene displayed in the Roman Arena throughout the season. We like to prepare certain things every year to take us back to the flavors and aromas of childhood, youth and adulthood, and every year they still surprise us. Christmas Season Getaways in the Pacific Northwest, Celebrate Christmas in Seattle: Events, Lights, and Attractions, The Tradition of Presepi or Nativity Scenes in Italy, Top 9 Spots for Christmas Cheer in Pittsburgh, An Alaska Christmas: Festivals and Events, How to Celebrate December in Rome, Italy's Capital City, Christmas in New Mexico: Family Activities and Lights Displays, December Events and Festivals in Milan, Italy, 18 Places to Spend Your Christmas Vacation With Kids, Things to Do for Christmas in Northern Virginia, Celebrate the Holiday Season in Venice, Italy, This December, Guide to Christmas in Seattle: Festivals, Events, Things to Do, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Vacation in Europe, Guide to Christmas in Italy: Markets, Traditions, and Events. Martha Bakerjian is an Italian travel expert who uses her home in northern Tuscany as a base for her in-depth explorations of the country. Oh Bej!—a big market with several hundred stalls held near Castello Sforzesco—on December 7 and a few days before or after. Christmas in Italy has religious roots. Christmas season in Italy is traditionally celebrated December 24-January 6, or Christmas Eve through Epiphany. Apr 14, 2016 - Wondering about Christmas traditions in Italy? Dec 13, 2018 - The Christmas celebrations in Italy take place a little differently to those in the UK, with the main celebrations falling between the 24th Dec and 6th Jan. Torino, in northern Italy's Piemonte region, is one of the best places to see the region's rich Italian architecture decorated in bright holiday lights. Styles vary and may depict just the holy family or a whole village, but the baby Jesus is … It is a great place to be at Christmas time since Italians have lots of special Christmas traditions! From festive feasts to torchlit ski trips, experience the wonder of Italian Christmas traditions this holiday season. All Christmas markets in Italy were canceled for 2020. Natale, Christmas in Italy, begins early in December. Information about the Campo Santo Stefano village was unavailable as of mid-December 2020. Being of Italian descent I was excited to share with my daughter and her classmates a few Italian Christmas holiday traditions. In Italy, Christmas eating starts at lunchtime then continues well into the night. At the heart of any Italian Christmas celebration are family, friends, and lots of food. Christmas in Italy - Italian Christmas traditions. In some towns in Sicily fires are burned in the squares on Christmas Eve to prepare for Jesus's arrival, and people gather to share gifts. Posted on December 17, 2020 by babbityjean. Christmas lends itself particularly to the display of the richness of local and regional traditions that, because of Italy's particular history, are deeply rooted, long cultivated, and reverently taught and observed, providing a deep and colorful fabric of continuity and communality. They all shared one celebration that happened to fall around Christmas time—the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. At Christmas, in places such as Naples and Bologna but also small towns throughout Umbria and Abruzzo that have a presepe tradition, nativity scenes both small and life-size fill squares, churches, and many private homes, opened to visitors for the occasion. 1. Lambert Getty Images. However, many events start on December 8, the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, and you'll sometimes see Christmas decorations or markets even earlier than that. They all shared one celebration that happened to fall around Christmas time—the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The presepe is the tradition of Christmas nativity scene displays, found in most cities in Italy. Instead, the tradition is for Italians to eat fish dishes. Traditionally, a fish dinner is eaten with family on Christmas Eve, followed in many places by a living nativity scene and midnight mass. The weather has begun to change, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange and people around the world are slowly getting into the Christmas spirit! Nov 25, 2014 - Explore Julie Shampang's board "Italian Christmas" on Pinterest. In Italy, this is the meal that breaks the Christmas Eve fast and it isn’t necessarily a stand-alone event as it is stateside. To kick off this series of crafts that I did with the kids, the teacher provided an introduction to Italy that included general information, geography, and vocabulary. If you want to try to imitate a generous Italian Christmas dinner tradition, make sure that at your table you have extra bread for the poor and some grass and grains for the animals of the world. La Befana: an Italian Christmas tradition La Befana, which falls each year on 6 January, is a public holiday across Italy. One of the most important events linked to Chrismas time in Italy is the preparation of the crib, which is termed presepe in my country.According to the tradition, the first crib would date back to the time of Saint Francis of Assisi. After Christmas Eve, which is almost as important as Christmas, and Christmas Day, of course, with gift-opening and long lunches and gatherings, Italians celebrate Santo Stefano, on December 26. The main focus of decorations continues to be the presepe, a nativity scene, or creche. The Naples Christmas market was canceled for 2020. Since then, this tradition has been recreated all over Italy, and in many other Catholic countries. It begins with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is a national holiday. These performers often wear traditional colorful costumes with sheepskin vests, long white stockings, and dark cloaks. The Trentino-Alto Adige Region in northern Italy is one of the best regions for Christmas markets, largely due to its close proximity to Germany, where the tradition originates. Traditions that live and come back to life preparing for the year’s most beautiful celebration, and they do so by way of rituals and customs that are lost in the mists of time. A day ritualized for more family gatherings and a continuation of Christmas, it commemorates this important saint, martyr, and messenger in the dissemination of Christianity. 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