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Christmas and Easter in Italy


... are prepared and enjoyed by all in the days preceding Ash Wednesday. ... Lent, which begins after Ash Wednesday and ends on Palm Sunday, is a period of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Christmas and Easter in Italy

Christmas and Easter in Italy
  • Christmastime in Italy is marked by a number of
    religious holidays San Nicola, Immacolata
    Concezione, Santa Lucia, Vigilia di Natale,
    Natale, Santo Stefano, San Silvestro, Capodanno,
  • After Immacolata Concezione (December 8)
    Italians start preparing for Christmas. They go
    shopping for presents to exchange. They start
    decorating the house with Christmas trees and
    Christmas decorations. Most of all they make a
    Presepe - Crib which represents in miniature
    the Holy Family in the stable and is the centre
    of Christmas for families.

  • Streets and shops are decorated with lights.
    Santa Clauses in the streets wish shoppers and
    passers-by Merry Christmas and Zampognari,
    pipers coming from the Abruzzo region, play
    Christmas songs with their bagpipes. They are
    dressed as sheperds in their traditional
    colourful costumes of sheepskin vests, knee-high
    breeches, white stockings and long dark cloaks.
    They go from house to house reminding people that
    Christmas is near. People usually give them some

  • Nine days before Christmas there is a special
    Novena of prayers and church services.
  • Students and teachers get their holidays from
    school on December 23 and return to school on
    January 7 after the Epiphany.

Vigilia di Natale-Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Eve is celebrated with a Cenone
  • which is a large meal.
  • Family and friends gather around a table and have
    a late dinner based on fish- no meat.
  • After dinner, around eleven thirty p.m., many
    people attend the Midnight Christmas Mass.
  • At midnight there are fireworks to greet the
    birth of Baby Jesus.

Christmas Eve Dinner
spaghetti with clams or other shellfish
  • Pesce-Fish
  • Baccalà stockfish anguilla eel or
    any other kind of fish
  • Baked
  • Fried
  • Boiled
  • Stewed
  • Grilled

Contorni-Side Dishes

Fresh broccoli salad
  • scarole imbottite stuffed prickly lettuce
  • black olives
  • capers
  • raisins
  • bread-crumbs
  • pine seeds
  • insalata di rinforzo with
  • green lettuce
  • olives
  • peppers
  • capers
  • cauliflowers

Fresh fruit melon, grapes, tangerines,
Dried fruit almonds, walnuts, chestnuts,
Some traditional sweets
Tronco di natale in the shape of a piece of wood
with chestnuts and chocolate.
Struffoli Neapolitan sweet topped with honey
Pandoro traditional cake from Verona in the
shape of a Christmas tree and a star base
Torrone traditional sweet with almonds, egg
whites and honey
Panettone traditional Milanese cake with raisins
and candied fruit
Bevande - Drinks
red or white wine
sparkling wine or champagne
Natale-Christmas Day
Christmas Day is spent at home with family and
relatives. Gifts are exchanged either on
Christmas Eve, after dinner, or on Christmas
Day. In the morning people go to mass, then they
go home and have dinner. Children write a
Christmas letter to tell their parents how much
they love them. The letter is set under their
fathers plate and read at the end of the
meal. In the afternoon they play tombola which
is a kind of bingo, cards, listen to music or
just chat. __________________________
________________ The day after Christmas is
Santo Stefano. Its a holiday too but there is
no special celebration.
Vigilia di Capodanno New Years Eve
  • New Years Eve is celebrated with a large evening
    meal like the one on Christmas Eve.
  • People spend it at home or at a restaurant.
  • Dinner is based on fish.
  • At midnight there is a toast with champagne or
    Italian sparkling wine
  • and

zampone e lenticchie
  • Pigs trotter stuffed with seasoned mincemeat and
    lentils, for good luck.

  • At midnight there are fireworks.
  • In many towns and cities like Naples- people
    throw something old out of the window to say
    goodbye to the old year and greet the new one.
  • The rest of the night is spent dancing and having
    fun till the next morning.
  • Young people usually go home around eight a.m.

  • On the sixth of January we celebrate the
    Epiphany which puts an end to the Christmas
  • It celebrates the three Magi who bring gifts
    to Baby Jesus.
  • We have a typical character Befana

  • On the night between the fifth and sixth of
    January all Italian children hang up a stocking
    by the fireplace and wait for Befana to bring
    them gifts and sweets.
  • Befana is an ugly, old lady with a hooked nose
    and a big black wart on it. She travels on a
    broomstick and brings gifts and sweets to good
    children and a piece of coal to naughty ones..

  • Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi
  • Christmas at home and Easter with whomever you
    wish is an old Italian saying.

Quaresima - Lent
  • Like in many other countries, in Italy the
    fasting of Lent is preceded by Carnevale, a
    carnival with colourful pageants, masquerades,
    dancing, music, all kinds of merrymaking and
  • Food is one of the central themes of Carnevale.
  • Because of the abstinence of meat during the Lent
    season, great feasts are prepared and enjoyed by
    all in the days preceding Ash Wednesday.
  • The cerimonies of the last three days are the
    gayest , especially those of Martedì Grasso
    Shrove Tuesday.
  • Lent, which begins after Ash Wednesday and ends
    on Palm Sunday, is a period of fasting to remind
    us of the 40 days of meditation and fasting
    spent by Jesus in the desert.
  • During Lent women grow wheat in a dark place, so
    that the lack of sun light makes it grow in a
    white colour. This is then used to decorate the
    altar of the local church during the days leading
    up to Easter. The white wheat represents Christs

I Sepolcri
Domenica delle Palme- Palm Sunday
  • On Palm Sunday the churches are all decorated
    with baskets of palm and olive branches and once
    they have been blessed by the priest they are
    given out.
  • Thousands of people gather in St.Peters Square,
    in Rome, on Palm Sunday to receive the palms
    blessed by the Pope after Mass has ended.

Settimana Santa Holy Week
  • Throughout the Holy Week a number of church
    services, cerimonies and processions take place.
    They are sombre in tone and recreations of the
    last hours of Christ will be found everywhere.

Giovedì Santo Holy Thursday
  • Churches re-enact the ceremony of the washing of
    the feet at the altar. They choose 12 men from
    the parish representing the 12 disciples and, the
    priest, acting as Christ,bathes their feet.
  • After Mass the altar is cleared of every
  • Church bells are tied- they are silent from
    Thursday to Saturday- while people remember the
    death of Jesus.

Venerdì Santo Good Friday
  • On Good Friday processions of the Via Crucis-
    literally Way of the Cross- take place all over
    the country.
  • It is a painful re-enactment of Christs passion
    and death.
  • In Rome the Pope celebrates the Via Crucis
    near the Colosseum. A huge cross with burning
    torches lights the sky as the stations of the
    cross are described in several languages. At the
    end, the Pope gives a blessing.

Sabato Santo Holy Saturday
Its a sad day , Christ is dead. There is a
midnight Mass. After midnight, church bells are
untied, now they can ring joyfully because
Christ is alive again.
Domenica di Pasqua Easter Sunday
  • Easter Sunday is a joyful day.
  • Church bells ring calling people to Mass.
  • After morning Mass, people return home for the
    Easter dinner.
  • Easter dinner varies from region to region.
  • Each region has its own traditional dishes and
    sweets, but lamb, kid,eggs and Colomba are
    common to all.

Typical dishes and sweets of our region (Campania)
Different kinds of bread and pies with cheese,
salami, eggs and green vegetables
  • To end the meal

Grilled and roasted lamb or kid with potatoes
Pastiera napoletana
Colomba tradizionale
Chocolate eggs with surprise
  • Pasquetta is the day after Easter.
  • People spend the day out, in the open air.
  • They usually have a picnic in the mountains,
  • in the countryside or at the seaside.

  • The end