The italian Christmas
The Christmas tree and the crib are the traditional Christmas decorations for the Italian home. All over the world during the Christmas period, there is the custom of making cribs in homes and churches.
The cribs represents the birth of Jesus in a stall in Bethlehem. In the stall we can see the holy family, the pastors, the donkey, the ox and the three kings Magi. Here in Sicily, every year during the Christmas period, many towns realize an exhibition of big cribs, made with bread, vegetables, paper, chocolate, ceramic and same made traditionally with the plastic statuettes.
The Christmas tree is decorated with small objects, lights and festoons. Under the tree people put the presents for members family.
In Sicily the Christmas tree and the crib you prepare in 8th December for the Immaculate.
Santa Claus is a figure present in many cultures; in the eve Christmas night he brings the presents to children. In Italy Santa Claus is a figure much loved by children and is an element very important in Christmas tradition.
In Italy Santa Claus is identified with San Nicola because a famous legend tells that he gave food to some poor and hungry children of city. San Nicola picked fruit, vegetables, grain and he knocked on the doors of homes where lived poor children , leaving them a lot of food. Since then San Nicola back every year on the earth and brings presents for the children.
Christmas recipes are very special and in each region follow old traditions.
The Christmas eve dinner and the Christmas lunch, people prepare a rich menu to the family :
You eat fish or turkey and roast according to the regional traditions; moreover the Italian people drinks good wine and toasts with the sparkling wine.
The typical sweet is the “panettone” and “pandoro” with other sweets as “torrone”, biscuits, chocolate, marzipan etc.
Other Christmas traditions
The other Christmas traditions are the advent calendar and the “befana”.
The advent calendar is a marry way to mark time waiting for Christmas: it marks the days to Christmas and every single day has marked with small boxes containing presents or chocolate.
The “befana” is a typical Italian figure.
Her name is due to the religious festivity: the epiphany.
This figure is very popular in entire peninsula; the legend tells that in the night between 5th end 6th January the old woman, flies on the broom, slides in the fireplaces with her bag full of presents and coal for the good and bad children, putting in the stocking.