What are examples of Italian Christmas symbols

La Befana - Christmas in Italy

The pre-Christmas season

Christmas is an important festival in all of Italy. It is a very Catholic country, after all, the Pope is at home in the capital Rome. Christian festivals like Christmas are taken very seriously and celebrated on a grand scale. But a lot in Italy is like here in Germany.

In the run-up to Christmas, all the gifts for loved ones are bought and everything is heavily decorated. As early as December 6th, the house is decorated in many families to really get in the mood. The Christmas tree is also set up early and lit up with Christmas balls, fairy lights and tinsel.

But the most important thing is the crib. It is an important part of the Italian tradition and that is why you can find it in almost every home. With the manger the birth of Jesus is represented in a feeding manger. Small figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are set up. Often an ox, a donkey and the three kings can also be seen. In the run-up to Christmas, some children also act out the events of the birth in churches.

The Christmas days

Family ties are generally very strong in Italy. Therefore, all relatives come together at Christmas and spend their time together. Many Italians go to church on the night of December 24th to December 25th to celebrate the birth of Jesus together. Then they all sing and say prayers together. Donations are also often collected. That can be money, but clothes and toys are also in demand. Most of these donations are passed on to poor people.

In Italy too, of course, children are waiting for their presents. But you still have to be a little more patient than we in Germany, because the presents will not be given until December 25th. In the morning everyone can open their presents.

The whole family comes together again on Christmas Day. There is a large feast with many courses and delicious desserts. Such as "Panettone". This is a cake specialty from Milan, a city in the north of Italy. Panettone But it is no longer only eaten in Milan, but in all of Italy. The cake is similar to the German Christmas stollen. It's sweet because there are lots of raisins and other dried fruits in it. This cake is eaten as a dessert or for breakfast. Usually so much food is cooked that you can still enjoy it long after Christmas.

La Befana

All the decorations and the Christmas atmosphere will remain until January 6th, because that is the last day of the festival. This day is called "La Befana". On the evening of January 5th, the children hang stockings by the fireplace or put down shoes for the witch to use Befana can fill them with gifts. At night she comes into the houses through the chimney and puts sweets and presents in the stockings of the good children. But be careful! Bad children only get coal. Of course it is never real coal but "carbone dolce"(sweet coal), a black colored mass of sugar that looks like coal. They say that Befana is Santa's wife.

Have you ever heard of Santa's wife?