First of all, we would like to clarify that we perfectly know that many people don’t celebrate Christmas and that this festivity is especially associated to the Christian religion, the birth of Jesus Christ, the three Wise Men etc, but here in Italy Christmas is by now associated to many other things that have nothing to do with the religion, such as:
1. TO GO SHOPPING
Christmas is a festivity that is characterized by conspicuous consumption: in spite of the cold and the low temperatures, many people flood in the streets – rigorously decorated with lights and decorations – to crowd the shops and hoard the most beautiful things to give to friends and family, but also to themselves! Very often we also buy stupid Christmas-related things that we won’t use until the next Christmas!
2. Another Christmas tradition in Italy, as in many other parts of the world, is DECORATING THE CHRISTMAS TREE. According to the Italian tradition, all the decorations are put up on the 8th of December (that is the Immacolata day in Italy). But pay attention to who is going to decorate the tree… not everyone is able to achieve great results!
3. Under the tree, every family puts all the PRESENTS that, at midnight on Christmas Eve (the 24th of December) will be unwrapped!
4. Obviously, among the Christmas decorations in Italy, we cannot forget the typical nativity scene NATIVITY SCENE with the cave, Mary, Joseph, the ox, the little donkey and baby Jesus!
5. In any case, what really characterizes Christmas for every Italian is the ancient dilemma: PANDORO or PANETTONE? The desserts that are the protagonists of the Italian Christmas are without any doubt these two: pandoro and panettone! In every house, every year, is always the same story: fights about which one to buy and which one is the best. The main difference between the two is that panettone has candies, while pandoro is empty inside and it is dusted with powdered sugar.
6. A reason for many family fights are also games such as the TOMBOLA. This traditional Christmas play is like bingo, with the only difference that not only wins who makes “cinquina” [5 numbers in the same row] and “tombola” [filling out all the numbers], but also wins who makes “ambo” [2 numbers in the same row], “terno” [3 numbers in the same row] and “quaterna” [4 numbers in the same row]: obviously, the awards are proportioned. But when do the Christmas celebrations end in Italy?
7. Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the celebrations continue in Italy, until the EPIPHANY, that is the 6th of January, that, from a religious point of view, is the day in which the three Wise Men visited baby Jesus, but, from a folkloric point of view, it is the day in which the “Befana” arrives. “La Befana vien di notte con le scarpe tutte rotte il cappello alla romana viva viva la Befana!” (famous Italian nursery rime about this character). The Befana is an old woman a little ugly but generous! She usually gives children some socks full of sweets!
Expression of the day DURARE DA NATALE A SANTO STEFANO: last very few, like the time between these two days, that is the 25th and the 26th of December (for example: Queste scarpe sono state fatte malissimo! Non sono durate da Natale a Santo Stefano! These shoes have been made badly! They lasted a very short time!)
In conclusion, we can say that the essence of the Italian Christmas is spending time with the people we love, trying to be more generous and taking a break from the daily routine. But now leave us a comment explaining which are the traditions in your country… we wish you BUON NATALE e FELICE ANNO NUOVO (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year)!
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