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Christmas in Italy

Italian Christmas

Christmas is certainly the most celebrated holiday in the world. However, it is celebrated differently in different countries and Italy is no exception to this rule.

In Europe, all children have made a habit of opening their gifts on December 25, the day of the birth of little Jesus. For Italian Christmas, this is not the case. Indeed, the boot-shaped country has a large number of mythical characters, which are celebrated around Christmas. So, depending on the region where you are, Italian Christmas is celebrated not only in many ways, but also on different dates.

Launch of hostilities!

Christmas starts on December 13th in northern Italy, especially if you are in Parma, Verona or Eastern Lombardy. In these regions, St Lucia is celebrated. As with Santa Claus, the children write a letter, in which they mention the gifts they would like to receive. Moreover, as in the United Kingdom or the United States, children must be asleep when Santa Claus comes to deposit the gifts for them. Finally, those who have been wise throughout the year will receive what they desire, while others will only have the right to get coal.

Nevertheless, the vast majority of Italians wait until December 25th to celebrate Christmas. At this time, it is Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) or Gesù Bambino (Little Jesus) who will bring the gifts, again depending on the region.

The Day D

But some children in Italy will have to be even more patient. Indeed, in Rome and its surroundings, Christmas is celebrated only on the occasion of the Epiphany, on January 6th. Almost a month after St Lucia, it is the person of Befana who will bring the gifts to the little Italians. Befana is a nice witch mounted on a flying broom. It is covered in ashes because, like Santa Claus, it invites itself into the houses through the chimney. She too leaves gifts to wise children and coal to those who are not.

Today all Italian children receive coal-like sweets, which are specially designed for this occasion. According to tradition, the Three Kings showed Befana the way to find Jesus, and then offered to accompany her, but she refused. Remorseful, she then went looking for them, handing out gifts and sweets to the children, in case Jesus was among them. One point on which there is no difference in Italy is on how to wish for a merry Christmas. All you have to do is take your best italian accent and say Buon Natale.


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