Apple Languages
Written by:Apple Languages
Date posted:December 10, 2013
Posted in:Home / Locations / Italy / An Italian Christmas

An Italian Christmas

Continuing our blog theme this week with Christmas traditions from different countries, Elisa tells us all about Christmas in Italy! With a special Christmas course in Sorrento or even a New Year course in Salerno, it’s certainly possible to experience these special traditions whilst taking a language course in Italy!

December is here, one of the most eagerly anticipated moments of the year in every country. Here are some interesting Christmas and New Year traditions from my country, Italy!

Naples is very famous for its Nativity Scene and for having a whole street dedicated to it. In fact, Via San Gregorio Armeno is the street where many craftsmen dedicate their lives to creating the most famous figures for the Nativity Scene.

In other regions, such as mine, Liguria, Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) appears from the sea! An occasion to celebrate both Christmas and our amazing position on the coast!!

Our Christmas time desserts include two different kinds of panettone, one which is usually eaten everywhere in Italy, and the ‘proper’ Genovese panettone (made with flour, sugar, butter, pine nuts, raisins, candid, baking powder etc.). Don’t forget the delicious torrone (Italian nougat) as well!

On New Year’s Eve we eat the Cenone di Capodanno (big New Year’s Eve dinner), and the typical dish which cannot be missed on this occasion is the zampone con le lenticchie (pig’s trotter with lentils) . According to tradition, if you eat lentils on New Year’s Eve, you will make money during the coming year, so the more you eat, the more money you will be able to make! Unfortunately I’m afraid it does not work, but as we say, you’ve got nothing to lose!!

In Italy, after Christmas and New Year, we still have one more celebration! This takes place on 6th January, and is called Epifania (religious definition) or La Befana (non – religious definition). This celebrates the three Wise Men bringing their gifts to the baby Jesus.

We have lunch with our families and the night before the Befana (an old woman who flies in the sky with her broom) delivers gifts to children throughout Italy. If the children have been nice throughout the year, the Befana will bring them presents and sweets (the most famous and popular one is the sweet coal). However, if the children haven’t behaved properly during the year, the Befana will bring them real coal or ash in order to make them reflect on their bad behaviour (this rarely happens though).

Do you have similar traditions in your country? How do they differ from ours?

Let me know what you usually have for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and if you celebrate, as well as for the 6th of January!

Auguri & Buon Anno Nuovo a tutti!


  1. Apple Language Courses

    We really like this post 🙂

    Posted December 11, 2013 at 2:40 am

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