So many holidays!

presents

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

In between reading albums and eating the oatmeal cookies I baked yesterday, I managed to walk to town (in my new boots, of course) and buy some ribbon and small cards to finish wrapping this year’s Christmas presents that are headed to the states.

The holidays are really different here- for one thing, there are all kinds of little holidays before and after the big days of Christmas and New Year’s, ones that are for all intents and purposes, just as important. Or, at least they were, before the focus began to narrow-in on Christmas.

There is la festa della Immacolata Concezione on the 8th, Santa Lucia on the 13th, Christmas on the 25th, San Stefano on the 26th, New Year’s Day, and la Befania on January 6th! All except Santa Lucia are National Holidays, and I think that is because Santa Lucia seems to be a celebration limited to very Northern Italy, and Northern Europe in general.

When my in-laws were young, Santa Lucia and la Befania brought gifts for children, mostly sweets. There was no Father Christmas or trees or anything. People made very ornate creches, and this is still a very strong tradition here.

Santa Lucia still brings presents, often really nice ones, and you can find lines of parents and children waiting in line to give Santa Lucia a wish-list letter outside of the church dedicated to her in Bergamo.

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One Response to “So many holidays!”

  1. Louise Says:

    A nice post. Here in Cannobio, up on Lago Maggiore, our Christmas holiday is extended by yet another holiday after Epiphany – the two-day patronal festival SS. Pieta’, in which a painting that wept is carried in procession from one church to another on the first evening and then carried back on the second. We all eat special sausages with a form of sauerkraut, and the lights are turned out in the town, which is illuminated only by candles and the lights of the boats shadowing the procession on the lake. Very pretty.

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