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Italian Christmas Traditions And Customs

Italian Christmas Traditions And Customs
  • Santa Lucia and La Befana. For most Italians, the celebration of the Christmas …
  • Il Presepe: The Nativity Scene. In the vein of the birth of Christ, one of the most …
  • Ceppo and Zampogne. Most everyone in Italy decorates a tree and hangs stockings, …


  • During the eight days before Christmas, go caroling – and keep an eye out for …
  • Presepi, presepi, and more presepi. Along with the fancy lights, wreaths and trees, …
  • Don’t eat meat on Christmas Eve… To prepare and purify their bodies for Christmas …
  • …but do go to midnight Mass… or put on skis? After the family dinner, many Italians …
  • On Christmas Day, eat away. After the “light” Christmas Eve dinner, on Christmas …
  • The festivities don’t end on December 25. Celebrations often extend into December …
  • When you exchange gifts depends on where in Italy you are! Ask an Italian when her …


The Best of the Italian Christmas Traditions. A 31 Day Celebration. Christmas in Italy kicks into high gear around the 8th of December each year. This celebratory day is known as The Feast of … Noise and Games. An unusual approach. Eat and be Merry. 13? Many hard-working Italians work their.

When we study Christmas around the world, Italy is one of the unique countries we look at: shepherd bagpipers, elaborate Nativity scenes, and a kind witch that flies on a broom. The traditions of Christmas in Italy are based heavily on the religion of Christianity.

Traditions. Christmas Eve in Italy is the day when the biggest meal of the year is prepared: In Italy, Christmas Eve means good food, time spent with family, gifts, and more food! There is a traditional fish-based (no meat or dairy) meal on the eve of Christmas (il Virgilio di Natale).

Christmas in Italy

According to Italians, Christmas Eve or ‘La Vigilia’ is the most important day of the Christmas period. At midnight in Rome on December 24th, church bells are rung throughout the city at the same time as cannons are fired from ‘Castel Sant’Angelo’ to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.

  1. Extended Christmas season. In Italy, Christmas kicks off on 8th December, the Day of the .
  2. More than one holiday. In Italy, people usually say buone feste (happy holidays) rather than buon .
  3. The eight days of Christmas. The eight days before Christmas are known as the Novena. It is when .
  4. Bagpipe players come down from the mountains. Think bagpipes are just a Scottish phenomenon? .
  5. No meat on Christmas Eve. Dinner on Christmas Eve contains no meat. However, what it does have .
  6. Midnight mass with the Pope. After la vigilia, Italians go to midnight mass. Many Romans go to the .
  7. Italians open gifts on different days. Italians open gifts on different days, depending on where they .


  • Piedmont. Though cities like Turin or Govone boast mesmerizing light displays and Christmas …
  • Emilia-Romagna. With Christmas markets, burning yule logs and a route of historic and artistic …
  • Tuscany. The holiday season starts early in Tuscany (the 8th of December to be exact) and…


Another common traditional Italian Christmas Day meal is a meat-filled pasta in a broth. Desserts might include standard fare like panettone, a light cake. Panforte is a cake with chocolate flavors, spices, and nuts. In Siena, residents eat cavallucci, a festive cookie that is decorated with a house on it.

One of the most important ways of celebrating Christmas in Italy is the Nativity crib scene. Using a Nativity scene to help tell the Christmas story was made very popular by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 (Assisi is in mid-Italy).

Christmas in Italy

  1. Christmas-related celebrations in Italy traditionally start on the 8th December and conclude on .
  2. 8th December is a public holiday in Italy marking the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the .
  3. Decorated pine trees are newcomers to Christmas in Italy though. Nowadays you can see them in .
  4. Instead, beautiful Nativity scenes are the focus of the Christmas decorations and spirit in Italy. Also .
  5. Traditionally, the best makers of Nativity scenes come from Naples where the making of Christmas .
  6. Otherwise, Nativity scenes and the elements to build one are sold all over Italy during the festive .
  7. Even though the Nativity scenes in churches, squares and front yards are set-up before Christmas, .
  8. Exhibitions of dozens and sometimes even hundreds of Nativity scenes from all over Italy and the .
  9. The oldest Nativity scene in existence is carved in marble and dates back to the 13th century. His .
  10. Living Nativity scenes are also organised at Christmas in Italy. Groups of local volunteers stage .


The Main Christmas Tradition in Italy: Natale con i tuoi. There is a saying in Italy that you spend Christmas with your family, and Easter with whoever you want. Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi. Gifts might not make up the central part of the holiday, but the family certainly does.

The Christmas tree at the Vatican, which is usually one of the most beautiful in Italy. The Christmas tree of Gubbio, in Umbria, which is not a real tree but a tree made of lights, developing over the slope of the local mountain – this is beautiful and record.

  1. Extended Celebrations. One of the best Italian Christmas traditions is that they celebrate for much .
  2. No meat on Christmas Eve. In what is a very traditional tradition, the Italians don’t eat meat on .
  3. Visiting the Vatican for midnight mass. A popular Christmas tradition for those who live or are .
  4. Skiing into Christmas. While some Italians are attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve, others .
  5. Bagpipes on the piazzas. In various Italian cities, and especially in Rome – the Eternal city – you are .
  6. Gifts from the good witch. It is not only Santa who brings Christmas gifts. Right across Italy, on .
  7. Sweet treats. At Christmas, the Italians are especially big on sweet food. Of course, it varies across .
  8. Displaying a ceppo. In most Italian households you will likely find a ceppo on display during the .


Christmas in Italy. On Christmas Eve, as in the old Catholic tradition, often no food is eaten during the day as this is a fast day. The festive celebrations start after midnight mass. Nowadays, ‘Babbo Natale’, the Father Christmas, brings presents to children on Christmas eve.

Typically Italian tradition is instead that of the bagpipers, or men dressed as shepherds and equipped with bagpipes, who come down from the mountains, playing Christmas music. This tradition, dating back to the nineteenth century, is particularly widespread in the South of the country.

The presepe is the tradition of Christmas nativity scene displays, found in most cities in Italy. The word refers specifically to the crib, first created by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223 CE. In Rome, the annual 100 Presepi exhibition displays about 200 nativity scenes from artists across Italy and other countries.

We have compiled a list of 26 funny Christmas traditions from around the world, some you want to start at home and some that might clearly surprise you. From the poop man in Catalonia to the wine-drinking witch in Italy, these weird Christmas traditions will definitely make some nice conversation starters at the dinner table.

26 Weird and Funny Christmas Traditions Around the World

Christmas in Italy: Traditions, Food, and Destinations The cold and shorten days are getting closer, lights start to bright in the streets decorated with red and green details, and huge Christmas trees appear in the main squares.

  • Let’s Start With the Food. One of our favorite Christmas traditions in Italy — one of our favorite …
  • Christmas Eve Mass. Another of our favorite Christmas traditions in Italy: the festivities! The Italians …
  • Get In the Spirit of Giving. Another of the popular Christmas traditions in Italy is the giving of gifts. …


The Christmas season begins in Italy on the first Sunday of Advent, which is four Sundays before Christmas. In the cold winter weather of the northern mountains and in the mild weather of the south, Christmas fairs feature fireworks and bonfires along with holiday music. Families go to the Christmas markets to shop for gifts and new figures for.

  1. A month of festivities. We’ve all got that one friend who wants to put on the Christmas music and .
  2. Bagpipes and bingo. In Italy, Christmas has retained its religious roots more than in many other .
  3. Not your usual nativity. You’re probably already familiar with the idea of a Christmas nativity scene. .
  4. Plenty of food. Food is an integral part of Italian culture and that’s more true than ever at Christmas. .
  5. Lucky thirteen. One part of Christmas that’s eagerly awaited by many workers is ‘the thirteenth’ — a .
  6. Befana. Although nowadays many children receive presents from Father Christmas on Christmas .


Christmas customs in Italy are based on the Christian religion. This is exemplified by the fact that the castle of St. Angelo in Rome fires a canon to proclaim the opening of this Holy season. Italy is also home to plenty of unique traditions. One of them is children writing letters of love to their parents instead of making a wish list for.

Christmas In Italy

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Christmas in Italy Christmas in Italy is celebrated over several weeks as Italians celebrate from early December, depending on the region, until the day...