Shop at Margherita Conad, Da Tonino and to  Save Cash

>Search This Site    >>Search The Web  

> Msn

 TWP

Holidays Pages

Paestum | Ascea | Pisciotta | Palinuro | Camerota

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Christmas
Christmas in Italy
Songs & Lyrics
The Nativity
Christmas Day
The Christmas Tree
The bagpipers
Gifts
The Befana
Santa Claus
New Year
 
The Night before
Christmas
The Twelve Days
Of Christmas
The Christmas Snake
 
New Year Links
 

 

 
   
CHRISTMAS    
     
Part of the magic of Christmas is the melding of a multitude of traditions, ancient to modern, to honor the birth of Christ on December 25th.
   
"Buon Natale" Versione Italiana

Christmas, as it is celebrated in Italy, has two origins: the familiar traditions of Christianity blended with the pagan traditions predating the Christmas era. The greatest feast of the ancient Roman Empire, "Saturnalia" (a winter solstice celebration), just happens to coincide with the Christmas celebrations of the Advent. Consequently, Christmas fairs, merry-making and torch processions, honor not only the birth of Christ, but also the birth of the "Unconquered Sun."   "Natale," the Italian word for Christmas, is literally the translation for "birthday."

A delightful, but rapidly disappearing tradition in Italy, is the ushering in of the coming festivities by the "Piferari" or The bagpipers. They descend from the mountains of the Abruzzo and Latium playing inviting and characteristic tunes on their bagpipes, filling the air with anticipation for the joyous celebration to come.

Christmas Eve is a time for viewing Italy's artistic and elaborate manger scenes or Cribs. They consist of figurines, in clay or plaster , of the infant Jesus, Mary and Joseph. An ox and ass are nearby because legend has it that they warmed the child with their breath. It is around this basic focal point that individual artisans create their own intricate landscapes. There may be grottoes, small trees, lakes, rivers, the lights of "Bethlehem" in the background, angels hung from wires, and occasionally, even local heroes. The most beautiful Cribs are set up in churches. There is often a contest between churches of the same town for the best Crib. People go from church to church to view and compare the Cribs and displays.

Another tradition is the burning of the Yule log, which must stay alight until New Year's Day. This, again, is an example of pagan and Christian blending. The pagan belief explains the purifying and revitalizing power of fire, and that with the burning log, the old year and its evils are destroyed. Christian legend tells how the Virgin Mary enters the homes of the humble at midnight while the people are away at Midnight Mass and warms her newborn child before the blazing log.

Amidst the general merrymaking and religious observance of Christmas Eve, Christmas tapers (long slender candles) are lighted and a Christmas banquet is spread. In some places, Christmas Eve dinner consists largely of fish. There may be as many as 10 t 20 fish dishes prepared. In Rome, the traditional dish of Christmas Eve is "Capitone," a big female eel, roasted, baked or fried. North of Rome a traditional dish may be pork, sausage packed in a pig's leg, smothered in lentils, or turkey stuffed with chestnuts.

Common throughout Italy are the Christmas sweets: "panettone" (cake filled with candied fruit), "torrone" (nougat) and "panforte" (gingerbread) made with hazelnuts, honey and almonds. All Christmas sweets, as a rule, contain nuts and almonds. Peasant folklore theorizes that to eat nuts favors the fertility of the earth and aids in the increase of flocks and family. In ancient Rome, honey was offered at this time of year so that the new year might be sweet.

 

.
 
"What do you mean
  I'm over my limit?"
 

Traditions

How to Start New
Holiday Traditions

 

 

 


 

Tania's Christmas

Twas the day
after Christmas

Twas the Night
Before Ramadan

 

 
Favorite Traditions
 
1. Christmas Greenery Ancient Egyptians used palm branches, while northern cultures preferred evergreens, to brighten the home during the winter. Continuing a custom that dates back to the 16th century, German immigrants were the first Americans to purchase and decorate Christmas trees, typically in the pine family.

2. Old Saint Nick Today's "jolly old elf," Santa Claus, is based on a real saint who lived in Turkey in the 4th century. Saint Nicholas was renowned for his generosity and love of children. According to historical sources, he would drop coins down the chimney to preserve his anonymity and the dignity of his recipients.

3. Gift Giving Once frowned upon as a pagan custom dating back to the Romans, gift giving is an integral part of our Christmas tradition. Santa's alias, "Kriss Kringle," means Christ child in German, and referred to a medieval legend that the infant Jesus distributed presents.

4. Mistletoe Kissing Remember the following Norse fable the next time you sneak a smooch under the mistletoe: Frigga, goddess of love and beauty, wanted to make the world safe for her son, Balder. Everything on earth promised to do him no harm except the one plant Frigga overlooked, mistletoe. Loki, an evil spirit, made an arrow from the mistletoe's wood and killed Balder. Frigga's tears became the plant's white berries and revived her son. In her gratitude, Frigga promised to kiss anyone who passed under the mistletoe, just as we do today.

5. Candy Canes The striped confections we now love to crunch were once straight white sticks of sugar candy. In the 1600s, in Cologne, Germany, traditional folktales reveal that the candies were bent at the end to remind children of a shepherd's crook and to keep them quiet in church.

 

 
.

Versione Italiana
 

Terms & Conditions Copyright Policy  and Privacy Policy
1999 -Pisciotta Net * All rights reserved.
Names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.


Created by TaylaNet  & Frank Veneroso
For problems or suggestions, e-mail us at
WebMaster@pisciotta.net