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World Advent Calendar

by Mandy Barrow

 
 
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homeDay 11

Father Christmas

 Italy

As well as Father Christmas,

who else brings gifts for the children in Italy?

Answer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


La BefanaTraditionally, it's not Father Christmas ( Santa) but the kind witch, La Befana, who brings the gifts and sweets.

La Befana visits each house on twelfth Night (January 5th) and leaves presents for the children. Italian parents tell their children that La Befana will leave only ashes or coal if they are naughty.

The legends say that Befana was sweeping when three wise men asked her to visit the baby Jesus. She said she was too busy, and by the time she changed her mind, she could not find the wise men nor the baby. Today she is still searching, which is why she visits each household on Twelfth Night (the night that the three wise men visited baby Jesus). Befana visits every house where there are children and leaves gifts just in case one of them happens to be the Christ Child.

"La befana" is an old witch, very poor and dresses in rags. She gives present to good children and coal to bad children.

On the 6th January we have a bonfire: we burn "La befana" and drink hot chocolate and eat sweets.

With thanks to Matteo, Giorgio, Martina, Lorenza, Jessica, Maddalena, Anastasia, Annachiara, Giada and Serena(teacher). Members of the English club of "Stefano Gobatti "school in Bergantino Italy


 

"Merry Christmas" in Italy is "Buon Natale"

“Happy Holiday Season” is “Buone Feste Natalizie”.

with thanks to Chiara and Zeno


On the 13th December, in some zones of Veneto and Lombardia, Santa Lucia brings presents and the toys to children.

With thanks to Matteo, Giorgio, Martina, Lorenza, Jessica, Maddalena, Anastasia, Annachiara, Giada and Serena(teacher). Members of the English club of "Stefano Gobatti "school in Bergantino Italy


The Christmas season in Italy lasts for three weeks and begins with the Novena or nine-day period of religious devotion, starting on 16th December.

During the novena, people dress up as shepherds and go from house to house singing Christmas Carols and reciting Christmas poems.


Traditionally no meat is eaten on Christmas eve in Italy, only fish.

The Christmas eve meal in Italy is popularly known as the meal of the seven fishes (for the seven sacraments). It typically includes fish and seafood such as baccala (salt cod), capitone (eel), calamari (squid), scungilli (conch meat) and vongole (clams). This meal marks the end of a 24 hour fast.

In Rome and southern Italy, il capitone, a large female eel, roasted, baked or fried, is a firm favourite to eat on Christmas eve..

eel
eel

tree Most Italians open their presents on Christmas Day morning or after lunch, although some wait until Epiphany, l'epifania, on January 6th.

Italian children also receive presents from Babbo Natale (Father Christmas).

Presents from Babbo Natale includes chocolates, sweets, clothes and toys.

With thanks to Matteo, Giorgio, Martina, Lorenza, Jessica, Maddalena, Anastasia, Annachiara, Giada and Serena(teacher). Members of the English club of "Stefano Gobatti "school in Bergantino Italy


Nativity Scenes or 'Presepi' (mangers) are very popular and can be seen displayed in almost every Christian household. The figure of the Christ child is added to the scene on Christmas Eve.

presepio
A Presepio

At Christmas, in Bergantino, there is a competition of cribs or Presepi.

With thanks to Matteo, Giorgio, Martina, Lorenza, Jessica, Maddalena, Anastasia, Annachiara, Giada and Serena(teacher). Members of the English club of "Stefano Gobatti "school in Bergantino Italy

Presents are not placed under the tree but instead in a large bowl next to the 'Presepio'. The bowl is known as the Urn of Fate. Members of the family take it in turn to take a present from the Urn of Fate.

Christmas sweets are very popular in Italy. They include 'panettoni' (cakes filled with candied fruit), torrone (nougat) and panforte (gingerbread) made with hazelnuts, honey and almonds.

tree

The main Christmas meal, il pranzo, is on Christmas day. A variety of foods are eaten including:

Crostini (thin slices of toasted bread drizzled with olive oil, and served warm) topped with liver pâté

Lo zampone (a pig's foot filled with spiced mince meat)

Il cotechino (a sausage made from pig's intestines ).

l'agnello (lamb)


Two types of pasta are typical foods eaten at Christmas time. They are Tortellini and Cappelletti.

Tortellini is a variety of ring-shaped pasta. They are typically stuffed with a mix of meat (pork loin, prosciutto crudo, mortadella) and parmesan cheese.

Cappelletti is pasta in the form of little peaked hats filled with a savory mixture.

With thanks to Matteo, Giorgio, Martina, Lorenza, Jessica, Maddalena, Anastasia, Annachiara, Giada and Serena(teacher). Members of the English club of "Stefano Gobatti "school in Bergantino Italy


Where is Italy?
Click here for facts about Italy

Find out more about Christmas in Italy

 

14 days till Christmas!

Christmas is getting really close now.
Soon Father Christmas will be here!


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