Beautiful Christmas markets filled with treasures to collect, roasted chestnuts on the streets, outdoor cafes and people gathered around the town squares set the scene all over Italy. Festivals and foods that delight the soul with coffee and spirits provide warmth from the cold and good cheer in the soul. Nativity Scenes and Madonna all around, prayer candles and music that transports one through timeless traditions encompass the mood of the Holiday Season in Italy. Strolling the ancient streets and getting lost with pleasure on the roads, couples hand in hand walking to their favorite restaurants enjoy finding the spirit of the Holiday magic in the air. Midnight Masses, walking at night looking at the lights, bells calling to prayer and the aromas of food everywhere all our beautiful invitations of family gatherings and deep memories of joy and togetherness. This is what I call home. The passion of the Season and the Spirit of giving coming together to celebrate the Birth of Christ, Jesus. Madonna and Nativity scenes fill the streets by churches and small shops that make replicas to sell. Market places and the inviting smells of the food cast welcoming invitations to all.
Christmas Eve dinner with family and friends is a grand celebration that lasts till the night ends. Holiday cakes like Panettone, a sweet bread, as well as other sweets to eat become enjoyable tastes of the Season. Il Torrone, made with honey, walnuts, almonds and pistachios are mouthwatering desserts as well as Pandoro, powered sugared covered star-shaped sponge cakes that are devoured by all in appreciation. Children writing letters to their parents promising to be good in the next year are also beautiful traditions in Italy. Music raises emotions and delights the soul with its songs of the Faith and Cultural norms.
Celebrated in Southern Italy is La Befana, a witch who is flying on her broom bringing gifts to all the little good bambini children on January the 5th, the Eve of the Epiphany. More than 2000 years ago, the story begins with a tale of religious signs of the birth of Jesus. She was visited by the Three Wise Men and invited to the Birth of Jesus but was too busy sewing so she missed the occasion and is now searching for the child Jesus. Every year, La Befana is looking for the child of God since she did not find him in the ancient times. She is flying around looking for the baby Jesus and finding children to give gifts to as she sees the good in them. The Stars shine bright in the skies over Italy on a beautiful Holy night.
A lovely video about La Befana below.
Christmas in Italy is a celebration with family, cooking together, delicious regional foods, music and sharing the stories together. Playing games of Tombola, a version of Bingo brings laughter and fun. In Italy there is a beautiful mixture of love and light to delight the soul and fill the air with magic and prayers.
Here is a wonderful travel video by Rick Steves’ who is visiting Italy during the Christmas Holiday Season. Let me know how you like it in the comments below.
May you find joy and fun in the Season of Giving and May all your prayers be answered with love for all.
Much love, Jennifer