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Christmas in Italy

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by

Elizabeth Smith

on 17 December 2010

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Transcript of Christmas in Italy

Italian Christmas How to Celebrate an Italian Christmas Step 1: On the 8th of December (which is the day of Immacolata aka the Immaculate Conception) set up your nativity scene, which is known in Italy as the presepe or crib. According to legend this tradition began when St. Francis of Assisi asked villager named Giovanni Vellita to create a manger scene before which St. Francis gave a mass. Step 2 Participate in the Novena, which is the 9 day
special service of prayers and church worship
observed by the Catholic Church. In Rome the
beginning of the Holy season is announced by the firing of a cannon from the Castle of Saint Angelo on the first day of the Novena. Step 3 One week before Christmas dress up as a shepherd and go door to door reciting Christmas poems and singing or playing (on a flute) Christmas songs. In Italy your neighbors would give you money to buy presents or treats, here in the U.S. they are more likely to give you strange looks, but good luck. Step 4 Observe a 24 hour fast the day before Christmas and then celebrate the completion of your fast with a meatless feast. Italians generally eat fish as the main course in this dinner. Step 5 Christmas day festivities should include another feast. This feast can have meat. Typical dishes include some sort of pasta (Lasagna, Cannelomi , etc), a roast, various cheeses, various fruits, and many sweets (Torrone, Panettone, Pandoro etc.). Also at noon the Pope gives his blessing in Vatican Square, so one should either attend or find some other way to participate. Step 6 On December 31st, a New Year's Banquet
should be held complete with raisin bread, turkey,
chicken, rabbit, and spaghetti Step 7 On January 6th, also known as Epiphany or the day the wise men visited baby Jesus, a feast should be had and presents should be given. Children should hang up their stockings in hopes of a visit from La Befana who is the old woman/witch whose house the wise men stopped at to ask for directions. According to the story, the wise men invited her to come along but she passed on the invitation. However it is said she later changed her mind and now flies about each year looking for the Christ child and leaving presents for children at each house in case he is there. She leaves presents for good children and coal for bad ones Other Traditions to observe throughout the season Tell someone "Buon Natale
Draw small presents from the "Urn of Fate
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