Italian Christmas Traditions

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Italian Christmas traditions involve many unique holiday activities. Learn more about the Christmas traditions in Italy with this free holiday video.

Part of the Video Series: Christmas Traditions Around the World
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Karina Fraley and today we're talking about Christmas traditions from around the world. In Italy, the Christmas season actually lasts about three weeks, and starts eight days before Christmas, and that time period is called the Novena. During the Novena, the children of the town go from door to door singing songs and reciting Christmas poems. And about the week before Christmas, they dress up like shepherds and go door-to-door reciting poems again, only this time collecting money so that they can buy Christmas presents. Now they actually observe a very strict fast the night before Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Eve there is a huge feast with tons of food, as I'm sure you can imagine. Then on Christmas Day, they celebrate Christmas and the pope comes out of the Vatican at noon and gives the blessing to the country. The children, however, in Italy, have to wait until January 6th to open their presents. So, if you think you have it bad waiting until Christmas morning, try living in Italy. There's actually a legend that has it that there was a witch who used to fly around on a broomstick, and was told by the three wise men of Jesus Christ's birth, but she gets so busy and distracted that she didn't get to him in time, and lost the star and has been wandering about on her broom ever since, and she leaves presents for all the children at every single house in hopes that Jesus is at one of those homes. So, as you can see, it is a little bit different than our traditional Christmas, but it sounds like a whole lot of fun in Italy.

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