Christmas and New Year customs in Italy

Christmas in Italy is considered to be the most anticipated and favorite vacation. Preparations begin long prior to it: the occupants of the “boot” method this event with all seriousness. One of the vital conditions is the careful observance of regional traditions.

Christmas vacations in Italy begin on December 24 and end on January 6, the day of the event of Epiphany or Teophany.

Photo source: Church of St. Anthony in the commune of Ortisei.

Christmas. For Italians New Year is not as crucial and popular as Christmas. This holiday does not need unique piety, young people choose to have a good time in clubs and squares.

In many ways Christmas and New Year in Italy is very little various from other European countries– the same decorated Christmas trees, illumination, vacation deals with, gifts. But, however, there are some features that our readers have to know.

Event of Christmas (Natale) in Italy

“Fulfill Christmas with your household, and Easter– with whom you want”– this saying is known to all Italians and they strictly observe it. The primary vacation in Italy is generally celebrated in the circle of family members and buddies.

It is a tradition to clean your home prior to Christmas and to embellish it. According to a long tradition, it is customary to hang a Christmas wreath at the front door.

On a festive night, precisely at midnight, a Christmas service starts all over Italy. According to the tradition, the mass is required to participate in all family members. In the Vatican, the Pope himself leads the Mass, it takes place in St. Peter’s Cathedral and lasts for an hour and a half.

Photo source: Christmas Mass in St.

Peter’s Cathedral. 2008 year. Sign of Christmas– presepio In Italy, Christmas is pronounced as Natale, and its main symbol is presepio or a Nativity scene– a composition of figures committed to the Nativity of Christ. The central characters are Mary and Joseph, the Kings and, naturally, the animals that resided in the crib where Jesus was born. However the figure of the infant is added to the Nativity scene just on December 25– after he is born.

Italians purchase figures and decors for the Nativity scene in shops, while others make them by themselves, as a result none of the compositions are precisely the very same. They look quite and touching. The most grand Nativity scene is set in the Vatican, where all the figures are made completely size.

Image source: Christmas Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square. year 2014.

Christmas tree

Italians decorate Christmas tree on December 8, on the day of the Spotless Conception of the Virgin Mary. In former times in Italy the Christmas tree was not a required attribute of Christmas, the tradition to embellish the green appeal came not so long back, after the The Second World War.

Color of the Italian Christmas

The main color of Christmas is red. It exists all over, any place possible– on the tree, on the joyful table, in the design of housing, in clothing, in presents. Practically all houses have a plant poinsettia, with intense red leaves. It is likewise called a Christmas or Bethlehem star– it’s a very stunning and festive flower, especially enjoyed by Italians.

Photo source: Poinsettia. Wreaths and garlands of fir branches are decorated with holly branches with red berries.

The Novena prayer

Novenaa is a nine-day prayer that is performed numerous times a year, however the most sacred occurs prior to Christmas. 9 days before Christmas, a prayer is made on the rosary, a kind of preparation for the greetings of Jesus. With time, this religious tradition was somewhat altered. Nowadays, children go from home to house and sing conventional Christmas songs, for which they are treated with all sorts of sweets.

Christmas presents in Italy

Christmas gifts are considered the most crucial and expected ones. Prudent Italians buy them beforehand, typically on summer or winter season sales, typically for the sake economy.

A few weeks before the holiday in Italy, the “Development” period begins– traditional Christmas fairs and markets open up and you can buy whatever there: items, decors, sweets, gifts.

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Christmas Market in Trento. Adults open presents on December 24, after an evening supper. Kids discover their presents under the tree the next early morning, thinking that they were put there by Babbo Natale, the Italian Santa Claus. Lots of Italians follow one good tradition– to leave a glass of milk or sugary foods for Babbo Natale.

Another touching tradition: kids compose letters with words of thankfulness to their moms and dads. Kid put their messages under a pillow of their father, he delicately finds them there and reads them out with his household on Christmas Eve.

Photo source: Oddly enough, however adults likewise compose letters to Babbo Natale. In lots of Italian cities, in large shopping mall or in main stations, Christmas trees are set, where everyone can hang their letter of dreams addressed to Babbo Natale. It all looks really amazing.

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Babbo Natale near the Colosseum. Italian Christmas tradition: a holy log

Conventional holly log is a common log. As a guideline, the head of the family brings it in house and sets it on fire. It is expected to burn till the New Year, in some areas till the Epiphany (January 6). This ancient tradition originated in pagan times.

It is thought that the ritual of burning logs need to bring prosperity to your home. Ashes from the log are considered alleviative, diseases were treated with it, and it secured the home from lightning. Till now many Italians follow this tradition.

This Italian Christmas tradition transferred to cooking: rather of a real log, Italians typically cook a Christmas cake in the kind of the log, and consume it with appetite.

Photo source: Christmas cake. Zampognari– a traditional Christmas characteristic in Italy Christmas in lots of cities of Italy is commemorated to the noises of zampognari(bagpipes from goatskin) and caramella (wood flute). In previous times, the shepherds and flutists were the shepherds who came down from the mountains in order to captivate people with Christmas melodies.

Zampognari, the so-called musicians, are dressed in standard colorful shepherd suits– sheep wool jackets, knee-length pants, white socks and long black raincoats.

Image source: Zampognari. Christmas supper Traditionally throughout Italy, on Christmas Eve, only fish dishes are presented on the tables, this is due to fasting when meat is prohibited. The next day, December 25, all limitations are raised– tables are complete with all sorts of dishes.

In different areas of Italy they prepare their unique Christmas dishes, often the secrets of their preparation are passed from generation to generation and these meals are served only at Christmas. But there are likewise traditional dishes: various pastas, tortellini, stuffed capon (dick), baked turkey, lamb, Italian sausages.

For the dessert they serve conventional Christmas muffins– “panettone” with raisins and candied fruits, along with “pandoro” (in translation – “golden bread”), sprayed with powdered sugar. Another traditional delicacy is the “torrona”, it is made from egg whites, honey and sugar, raisins, filled with walnuts and hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios.

Photo source: Christmas cake “panettone”. A fascinating detail: at Christmas in Italy it is not accepted to serve and eat apples, therefore not to advise when again of initial sin.

At the end of the meal, families play conventional Christmas games, among them is called a tobol, the analog of our lotto.

Celebration of the New Year (Capodanno) in Italy

It’s a custom to celebrate New Year in Italy cheerfully and noisily, in a dining establishment, club or on the square. If Christmas is a strictly household vacation, then New Year can be celebrated in company with friends at incendiary celebrations. Many prefer to head out on the city squares, where grand New Year performances with music and dances occur. On New Year’s Eve all of Italy actually shakes with prolonged fireworks, the leader by their colorfulness is thought about to be Naples.

Capodanno in Italian means “the head of the year”, yet it is known as St. Sylvester’s dinner.

It is notable that the Italians do not make New Year’s gifts, because they give them away for Christmas.

The celebration of the Italian New Year has its own peculiarities and customs, a few of them might seem quite amusing to you.

Picture source: Castle of the Sant’Angelo in Rome. Near the bridge of the Holy Angel.

Tossing trash

In Italy, there is a tradition to get rid of unneeded things from the windows of your house in the eleventh hours of the outbound year. Italians think that in this method they eliminate the negative energy collected over the past year. New Year for them is associated with everything new, so they attempt to throw away whatever old and get something new.

Nowadays the Italians are not as inefficient as they used to be. The likelihood of a chair, couch or tv falling on your head is very little.

12 grapes

Italy can not be envisioned without grapes. On New Year’s Eve, special hopes are put on them. Prepared beforehand, 12 grapes are consumed one by one with every stroke of the clock. The one who consumed the last berry in the first second of the coming year will be fortunate. By the way, the Spaniards believe in this too.

After the last stroke of the clock in the space, the lights are turned off and all the visitors sitting at the table exchange kisses with each other.

Picture source: Candles and coins To attract all the best and reside in prosperity the entire next year, superstitious Italians set out coins on the windowsills or light candles.

Red lingerie

Almost all New Year traditions are connected with drawing in luck and wealth. Generally, it is customary for ladies and males to wear red underclothing for the New Year event in Italy. Lots of people try to find joy in their personal life in this method.

At this time store windows have lots of red qualities: panties, stockings, socks, underwear and so on. If you follow the custom, you will be affluent.

Image source: Brand-new water There is a belief that on January 1, you should bring new water into the house. And this must be done prior to sunset. So the occupants of your house are ensured to have joy and luck. Numerous, going on a visit on the first of January, will certainly take a bottle of water with them– basic and traditional.

The very first person you satisfy

When going out on the street on the very first New Year’s Day, the Italians are carefully seeing the passers-by– it is very crucial for them who they will meet initially. It is considered a fantastic success to see a stunning young girl, if you fulfill a hunchbacked old male– an abundant and happy year is provided for you. A bad sign is to meet a priest.

Lentils and pork

Following the ancient tradition, on New Year’s Eve every Italian must try a dish of lentils. It is thought that this will bring prosperity and wealth. Lentils are served with a packed pork leg, called zampone, which is likewise a sign of well-being.

Pork dishes are obligatory on the New Year’s table. Italians think about pigs to be pretty determining animals that are stubbornly moving towards their goal. Therefore, you should certainly taste pork specials.

Photo source:

Packed pork leg and lentils. January 1 When leaving the house on January 1, Italians put cash in their pocket. So they hope that the whole next year will pass without money issues.

Fairy Befana

Events in Italy do not end with New Year’s Eve. Everybody eagerly awaits the day of the event of Surprise, or Teophany. Particularly pleased about this occasion are the children, they are waiting for the look of the great fairy Befana.

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web. Toy fairy Befana. The fact that she appears like an old woman with a hooked nose, dressed in leaking and dirty clothing and flies on a broom, does not trouble children at all. On the contrary, they just adore her. And all because of the reality that on the night of 5 to 6 January, the fairy Befana distributes gifts to kids. Drifting into your home through the chimney, she puts sugary foods and presents into stockings. If the child was disobedient and acted terribly, then he will receive embers. So the kids have the reward to behave with dignity throughout the year.

Photo source: Swim in the boats on the day of the Surprise celebration. Grand Canal in Venice.

These are not all customs and customs of the Italian Christmas and New Year. Each province has its own peculiarities of celebration. In order to understand and see all of this, go to Italy. Just there, surrounded by emotional Italians you will completely enjoy the spirit of the Christmas holidays.

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