The Italian Christmas
December 25, Christmas is a day of celebration for Christians all over the world every year. It marks the birth of Jesus. In Italy Christmas festivities last through the whole of December. On Christmas Eve, the pope gives Midnight Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The Christmas Eve speech is broadcast to a lot of nations. Many towns and cities in Italy enact the nativity scene depicting the holy family.
Xmas Eve Prayers and parties
Christmas begins with a 24-hour fast, from sunset of December 23 to sunset of December 24. In most homes the presepio, a miniature Bethlehem stable scene, is made from cardboard, moss, and bits of twig. Sometimes these are very elaborate. The family gathers before the presepio to light the candles and offer prayers. Christmas Eve is strictly a family gathering. Family reunion and parties continue until almost midnight when everyone attends church services.
The Yule log, rather than the Christmas tree, is important to Italian boys and girls. Sometimes they tap it with little sticks, asking for the gifts they want.