Italian Christmas traditions

imagesIt’s not Christmas if you don’t study Italian Christmas traditions !

Hi guys & welcome back to my blog!

So we’re close to Christmas and in this post I want to tell you some

Italian Christmas traditions!


But first Take a look at my Christmas Promotion

Italian cooking lesson for your mom


Italians welcome  the Christmas season (and start decorating) on the day of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th 

In other countries, Thanksgiving  starts the Christmas season,  in Italy, though, Christmas officially starts with the day of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. This is when people use to decorate their homes, the streets and when some Christmas markets start.

The majority of Italian squares are decorated by a  huge Christmas trees  like in front of the Colosseum or in Milan’s Piazza Duomo, and Babbo Natale ( the Italian version of Santa Claus) spreads holiday cheers

Go caroling during the Novena looking for bagpipe players “zampognari” !

The eight days before Christmas, also known as the Novena, streets are filled with carolers singing traditional songs around the neighborhood. From Rome to southern Italy, you will find many zampognari”  or bagpipe players—they travel from the nearby mountains to play their merry folklore carols.


Do you like Presepe? 

In many churches and squares you’ll find also the nativity scenes so called “presepe” . This is an artisanal tradition in many parts of the country, everything is handmade and represents a traditions of centuries.  If you want to really understand the magic of the “presepe” you have to go to Naples! it is world-famous for their hand-made presepi. It still has whole streets with one workshop after another devoted to the craft

Christmas eve & Christmas day meal

The meal for Christmas Eve called La Vigilia, according to tradition, doesn’t have any meat.  It’s all fish and vegetables. That’s because you’re supposed to have a giorno di magra,  a lean day eating lean to help purify your body for the holidays . But believe me, that meal is anything but lean! One traditional Christmas Eve dish is capitone (eel), or fried  baccalà, octopus, and shellfish. In Naples, a starter is a sauteed mix of broccoli and seafood.

After the “light” Christmas Eve dinner, on Christmas Day, Italians invite their family and friends for a large lunch that usually lasts many hours. Traditional dishes are served such as  pasta in brodo (pasta in broth), roasts and traditional desserts like panettone and pandoro 


The festivities don’t end on December 25. Celebrations extend to December 26 with the national holiday of Santo Stefano; families get together and eat leftover Christmas dishes and sweets.The official end of the Christmas season, though, is  January 6—the Day of the Epiphany, during that day children are given candy or coal,made of black sugar, depending on if they were naughty or nice. After January 6, you’ll see Christmas markets close and decorations start to come down.


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