Being back to Italy for the holidays made me remember about my “Things You Should Know Before Coming to Italy” posts (if you haven’t check them out yet click here & here 😉 ) and since it seemed you’ve enjoyed them quite a lot I thought about writing a *Christmas Edition* version, hope you’ll like it as well! 🙂
So, let’s start!
1 | No decorations before December 8
December 8, the day of the Immaculate Conception, is the day we officially start setting up all the Christmas decorations (lights, trees and every Christmassy item you can imagine!)
2 | Food Marathon Days
I know in some countries the 24th-25th-26th December are defined as “the three days of Christmas” well, I guess that here in Italy we could define them “food marathon days”. Indeed, we generally start eating the 24th evening, and practically end the 26th evening. Then a little break until the 31st when there is the famous “Cenone” (big dinner) for celebrating New Year’s Eve. Practically at the end of the holidays you don’t know if it’s better rolling down the stairs or spending the rest of your days laying on the sofa 😀
3 | It’s all about Pandoro, Panettone & Torrone
Talking about food, especially desserts, during this special time of the year the only desserts that are conceived are:
A sweet yeast bread (there are different kind of flavours: plane, chocolate vanilla…) typically served with icing sugar and Mascarpone cream (a cream made of mascarpone, loads of eggs and milk)
Very similar to Pandoro but smaller and full of candied fruit.
A sweet (very sweet) made of honey, almonds or other nuts, sugar and eggs white.
4 | It’s not over until the Befana arrives
January 6 is the official day Christmas ends, the day the “Befana” arrives. The Befana is designed as an old, not really good looking lady which travels on her broom (kind of a witch) during the night between the 5th and 6th and bring candies inside socks. Nowadays kinds find their socks full of different types of candies but the very typical tradition says that besides candies the Befana should also bring coal, if it’s black it means you’ve been a bad boy/girl while if it’s white you’ve behaved well 🙂
5 | Presepi everywhere
I suppose you all know Italy is quite a religious country, because of this, it very often, like very very often normal to find miniatures of the nativity scene, inside/outside churches, along some streets, in people’s houses (the presepio is often made the same day the Christmas tree is set up, December 8)
6 | Lenticchie & Cotechino, otherwise no luck for you
Going back to food topics (yeah, it’s never ending!!), as soon as mid-night arrives, after the very big (and long) dinner, like if people are not full enough, it is very typical to eat Lenticchie (lentils) and Cotechino (a gelatinous pork sausage in a natural casing). Actually, it is said that if you eat it it brings you luck (in particular money) for all the year!
Are there any Christmas traditions in your country? I’d love to hear them in the comments below! 😉
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