What is a Christmas ceppo?
The ceppo itself is a large chunk of wood chosen and dried specifically to burn in the fireplace over the night of Christmas, around which the family anf friends gather to share simple gifts, including dried fruit, tangerines, and baked goods.
Believed to have originated from the Tuscan area, a ceppo is a pyramid-shaped wooden frame which can be anywhere up to a few feet high. Within the frame there are shelves: the bottom shelf will display a small Nativity scene and those above will have candy, fruit and small gifts on them.
The "Ceppo" or "Ciocco"
The ritual is connected to the solstice rite of the "new sun" - in the longest nights the "ceppo" burnt to summon the return of heat and light on earth. Pagan rights also used fire as a form of purification of the supposed sins of mankind that had brought the long cold night.
Ceppo: In Italian, a ceppo is a tree stump or a log, but in Florence it was once something much more meaningful. Of ancient origin, the tradition was to take a thick trunk of wood that had been cut down shortly before the holiday and burn it in the fireplace on Christmas night.
Christmas in Italy (in Italian: Natale) begins on December 8, with the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the day on which traditionally the Christmas tree is mounted and ends on January 6, of the following year with the Epiphany (in Italian: Epifania).
Nochebuena. For most Puerto Ricans, Christmas Eve or Nochebuena trumps Christmas Day. This is the night where family and friends gather for a traditional dinner, exchange gifts, go out on parrandas, or take a drive to enjoy the Christmas decorations around town.
Kwanzaa (/ˈkwɑːn. zə/) is an annual celebration of African-American culture from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, usually on the sixth day. It was created by activist Maulana Karenga, based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of West and Southeast Africa.
The witch has been in the Italian tradition at least since the eighth century, as part of the Epiphany. In Italy, the Epiphany marks the official end of the Christmas season, commemorating the day when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts.
Children across Sicily and Italy sing carols, light candles and read scripture in dedication to Santo Natale. During this time the architecturally prominent cathedrals that decorate much of Sicily are turned into an everflowing stream of choir music, celebration and community – and a must-see site.
Novena, or the eight days before Christmas eve, are spent caroling in Italy. As far as Christmas traditions go, this is pretty standard—but only in Italy will you see bagpipe players (the zampognari) descend from the mountains to join in the celebrations, common in southern cities such as Rome!
What is Italy's traditional Christmas food?
In Southern and Central Italy, baked pasta is a must. In Northern Italy, Lasagne Bolognese and filled pasta like manicotti and ravioli are traditional Christmas fare. Next comes the main event, the meat. Roasted veal, baked chicken, sausages or braised beef are common Natale entrées worth celebrating.
Fish and seafood
Catholic tradition prohibits the consumption of meat on the evenings before religious holidays. Most Italians, therefore, eat a fishy feast on Christmas Eve.
Known in Italy as La Viglia, which translates to The Eve, as in December 24th, Christmas Eve, The Feast of the Seven Fishes isn't a religious celebration (unless your religion is worshipping at the altar of amazing food). It really is just a big fish-forward holiday meal that traces its roots back to Italy.
La Befana is the last festivity of Christmas time in Italy and we celebrate it every 6 January. According to the Christian tradition, on the day of Ephiphany, the three biblical Magi finally meet the baby Jesus. In Italian Christmas folklore, we also celebrate the coming of La Befana.
Vin brulé Mulled wine or vin brulé is a Piedmont tradition and a classic Italian holiday cocktail. A common beverage found in Christmas markets, Vin brulé is the simple combination of mulling spices and red wine, often fortified with liquor like brandy or rum.
Like the fairy-lit tree and nativity scene, the bright red flower known as the Stella di Natale is synonymous with Christmas in most Italian households.
St. Nick, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, whatever you want to call him, it wouldn't truly be Christmas without the jolly old benefactor giving out presents to the children around the world! And Babbo Natale – or Daddy Christmas – is Italy's answer to the man in the red suit.
Tradition now has it that Christmas trees are put up in Italy on 8th December and taken down on 6th January each year, like clockwork. Another important part of Italian Christmas is the traditional nativity scene.
Since 54 percent of the population is Catholic, many Brazilians attend midnight mass, exchange gifts and celebrate with large family gatherings the night before Christmas. “Brazilians gather on the night of the 24th and it's a big party!
During Christmas in Korea, the country positively sparkles with holiday cheer. Huge light displays decorate malls and streets, over-the-top Christmas trees can be seen pretty much every which way you look, and shops are full of holiday wares. All the pretty lights at Cheonggyecheon Stream, during Christmas in Korea.
What is Puerto Rico's little Christmas?
It is an important celebration in Spanish-speaking countries, mainly dedicated to children, who receive their gifts on the morning of 6 January. In some countries, like Spain, it is a public holiday that marks the end of the Christmas season which started on Christmas Eve (24 December).
The two most famous festivals are Fiesta de Reyes Juanadina, in the town of Juana Díaz, and Fiesta de Reyes Isabelinos, in Isabela.
In Hausa Happy/Merry Christmas is 'barka dà Kirsìmatì'; in Yoruba it's 'E ku odun, e ku iye'dun'; in Fulani it's 'Jabbama be salla Kirismati'; in Igbo (Ibo) 'E keresimesi Oma'; in Ibibio 'Idara ukapade isua' and it's Edo it's 'Iselogbe'.
While the rest of the world celebrates Christmas on December 25th, Ethiopians, alongside Russian, Greek, Eritrean, and Serbian Orthodox churches, celebrate Christmas Day which is called “Genna” on January 7th.
Africa and Middle East
Of those countries in Africa and the Middle East that celebrate Christmas, Papá Noel is the most common name for Santa Claus. In South Africa Sinterklaas, Father Christmas and Santa Claus are also used.
The Befana is celebrated throughout all of Italy, and has become a national icon. In the regions of the Marches, Umbria and Latium, her figure is associated with the Papal States, where the Epiphany held the most importance. Urbania is thought to be her official home.
See our Epic Trips. Befana is said to be an old woman and many refer to her as a witch, who visits all the children in Italy on the eve of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6. She fills the children's stockings full of either candy or coal, depending on their behaviour the year before. Sound familiar so far?
On January 6th, Italians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany with a national public holiday. Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas period and commemorates the presentation of the infant Jesus to the Magi, or three wise men.
In Palermo, the table is laid with fried red pumpkin in sweet and sour sauce, eggplant caponata, fried cardoons and battered broccoli, sfincione of Palermo made with anchovies, onion, tomato and caciocavallo cheese and bagherese sfincione with anchovies, ricotta cheese and onion.
Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as La Vigilia (The Vigil), is a Sicilian-American traditional dinner on Christmas Eve. Like many Italian traditions, the origin and rules are debated.
How do you say Merry Christmas in Sicily?
To wish someone a Merry Christmas in Italian, we say Buon Natale!
Rather than just being the night before Christmas , Christmas Eve in Italy is a Christmas tradition itself. Families come together for dinner, meals get shared, kids sometimes get a small pre-Christmas-gift and some even use the night to wait for midnight and cheer the arrival on Christmas day at midnight.
Christmas day and Christmas Eve (Vigilia di Natale) are observed in different ways all over the country, depending on where you are. Some Italians start celebrating with a nice dinner on December 24th, while others prefer a light meal — preferably without meat — and wait for a huge Christmas lunch, the day after.
According to Italians, Christmas Eve or 'La Vigilia' is the most important day of the Christmas period. At midnight in Rome on December 24th, church bells are rung throughout the city at the same time as cannons are fired from 'Castel Sant'Angelo' to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.
We are in the heart of the sweetest season: panettone and pandoro!
Panettone: history and characteristics of this italian cake. People everywhere eat panettone while celebrating their Christmas holidays, perhaps without knowing that the word Panettone comes from the Milanese dialect 'Pan del ton', which means 'luxurybread'. Yes, the Panettone is a local speciality.
Great Christmas breakfast classics in Italy are the dinner leftovers from the night before – we're talking panettone and pandoro. But if you need an extra dose of sweetness to make you feel good about your mother-in-law, panforte is for you.
Every region (or even every town!) has its own customs, but if there's one tradition that everyone in Italy can agree on, it's not eating meat on Christmas Eve. December 24 is the time for fish or cheese dishes to shine.
According to tradition, the meal for Christmas Eve, La Vigilia, doesn't have any meat. It's all fish and vegetables. That's in keeping with most meals served on the eve before a religious festival in Italy: You're supposed to have a giorno di magro, eating lean to help purify your body for the holiday.
Although Catholics are now no longer required to abstain from meat on Christmas Eve, it's a tradition that Italians have kept alive and it's an important part of the holiday for them, Grandinetti said. Mele agreed. "I think traditions are so important for families," Mele said.
What do Sicilians eat for Christmas Eve?
- Crab and Clam Arancini (Appetizer)
- Mussels in Wine Sauce.
- Shrimp Bisque.
- Baccalà- Salted Cod in Butter & Wine Reduction.
- Scallops in Browned Butter.
- Skillet Bang Bang Shrimp with Sriracha Dipping Sauce.
- Acciughe Marinate alla Ligure (Marinated Anchovies)
- Brodetto di Branzino (Wild Sea Bass Soup)
- Crudo di Pesce (Fish Tartare)
- Paccheri con Sugo di Mare (Seafood Pasta)
- Pesce al Forno (Baked Fish)
- Pesce alla Griglia (Grilled Fish)
The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstaining from eating meat on the eve of a feast day. As no meat or animal fat could be used on such days, observant Catholics would instead eat fish (typically fried in oil).
La Festa della Repubblica (June 2nd)
La Festa della Repubblica is Italy's Independence Day and one of the country's most important holidays. The day celebrates the end of monarchs and the country officially becoming a republic.
1. Pizza. Though a slab of flat bread served with oil and spices was around long before the unification Italy, there's perhaps no dish that is as common or as representative of the country as the humble pizza.
Buon Natale / Merry Christmas.
Is there Santa Claus in Italy? YES. Italian children called Santa Claus Babbo Natale. Santa and Babbo Natale are the same person: they dress in red and carry gifts to the nice children delivering them on the night of the 24/25 of December with the aid of a magical sleigh pulled by flying reindeer.
What is this? Christmas lunch usually starts around noon, when the aperitivo is served, and it goes on all day long. The last course, the dessert, may be served as late as 5:00 pm!
The word for Christmas tree in Italian is albero di Natale (masculine, plural: alberi di Natale). Albero is the word for tree while Natale is the word for Christmas.
Italian children hang up their Christmas stocking on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th. And instead of Father Christmas, they are expecting Befana to fill it with treats. La Befana is a witch-like character who rides a broomstick, but while she is a mystical figure, there's nothing scary about her.
What do Italians put on their Christmas tree?
The Christmas tree in Italy is usually put up on December 8 and it is taken down January 6. Initially the tree was decorated with dried fruit, biscuits, oranges and candles. Today these have been replaced by multicolored lights, balls of every kind, ribbons and bows.
In Japan Santa is known as サンタさん、サンタクロース / Santa-san (Mr Santa) or サンタクロース / Santa-Kurosu (Santa Claus). (Another Japanese gift bringer is Hoteiosho, a Japanese god of good fortune from Buddhism.
Unlike the bloated, red-coated father Christmas of the West, Russia's Santa Claus, known as Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost), is slender with a wizard-like flowing beard and he wears a long robe that comes in different colors, such as blue and white.
Traditionally, Santa Claus, or Weihnachtsmann in German, does not drop down chimneys and deliver gifts the eve of Dec. 25 in Germany. Instead, the Christkind or Christkindl, an angel-like creature with blond hair and wings, brings gifts to families on the eve of Christmas.
Pasta, potatoes, and pastries
Whole roasted fish with potatoes as a secondo, and then Christmas cookies before the midnight mass. Insider's Tip: The “Feast of the Seven Fishes” is an Italian-American tradition in which families eat seven types of fish on Christmas Eve.
Each year between December 24 and January 6, Spain comes alive to celebrate Christmas, or Navidad in Spanish.
Greek Christmas (Christougena) is celebrated on the 25th of December and is the time when families come together to celebrate.
|June 1||Independence Day|
|Second Monday in August||Father's Day|
|Second Monday in October||Lotu a Tamaiti|
|December 25||Christmas Day|
This special mass is known as Missa do Gallo in Portuguese, which means “Rooster's Mass.” In fact, Christmas Eve is the main day for celebration in Brazil. Following mass, many friends and families join together to exchange gifts and enjoy a traditional Brazilian Christmas dinner.
Many Spanish-speaking countries focus on December 24, Christmas Eve, as the most important part of the holiday. In Mexico, for example, this is known as Nochebuena or the “good night”.
Is Mexican Christmas a thing?
It's a full month of celebrations, marked with family feasts and lots of piñatas. Starting on 12 December and lasting until 6 January, Christmas celebrations in Mexico have their own flair. There are candlelit processions, elaborate nativity scenes, Spanish Christmas carols, dancing and fireworks.
A Christmas meal that is almost never-ending
Iberian ham, a wide variety of rich cheeses, seafood, preserves, pickles, elaborate delicacies prepared specially for the festivities... It's almost hard to believe that these are just starters. Then the first course arrives and this typically involves a stew or soup/broth.
The Greek Church in 1924 adopted the New Julian calendar as the basis of the calendar system. In this regard, holidays with a fixed date, which includes Christmas, are celebrated by the Gregorian calendar.
Orthodox Christmas day occurs every January 7 because the Orthodox Church still chooses to celebrate the birth of Jesus as per the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar that is currently in use today led to a new Christmas Day on December 25 due to the addition of new elements that changed the calendar year.
In Filipino and most Philippine languages, the word Paskó commonly refers to Christmas. It comes from the Spanish phrase "pascua de navidad" ( lit. 'Easter of the Nativity'); the latter part, de navidad, fell out of use, leaving the word pascua to be assimilated into the local languages over the years.
Umu, a traditional Samoan ground oven, is the primary cooking (method) on Christmas Day to feed everyone in the family. You'll always find the staples in the umu, including taro, breadfruit, banana, luau, pig and fish, served with other delicious local Samoan food.
It is insulting to pass something over the top of someone's head or to touch or pat the head of an adult. Avoid wearing any revealing clothing when walking through villages. Women should take particular care to avoid showing their knees and shoulders.
Christmas in Brazil sounds better than Christmas in the USA. The Brazilians call Santa Claus Papai Noel & Bom Velhinho (Good Old Man). And the way kids get presents is to leave a sock by the window and Papai Noel will exchange it with a present.
The kick-off in the smallest of the Greater Antilles is on Thanksgiving and the festivities do not end before January 14, eight days after the Epiphany with what is called “Octavitas”. The Christmas celebration in Puerto Rico is a mixture of Anglo-Saxon, Spanish and African traditions.