Bits and Pieces on Christmas Traditions in Italy” by mn Part II

On 24th December at midnight, in the Roman Catholic churches, is held a special Midnight Christmas Mass. Many churches would display a Nativity Scene often with very ancient and precious little statues.

As well, on 24th December it is tradition to have at home a ‘Cena di Magro’ (a dinner with no meat, normally soup and fish or vegetable dishes) quite different from the big lunch of the 25th when, according to different regional traditions, you will have ravioli or cannelloni or tortellini and lasagne al forno with different type of sauces  (all kinds of stuffed pasta) usually proceeded by various antipasti like row and cooked ham, salame,  and soppressata, coppa and speck, such a great regional variety that it is impossible to mention everything …. to the above you add vegetables preserved under oil or vinegar like mushrooms, little pickled onions, roasted eggplants and peppers, and all kind of olives, green or black, big and small ones, seasoned or not.

It must be said that each Italian region has, besides the more common dishes, special local traditional recipes, like polenta with salsiccia, or pizzoccheri, risotto and canederli, lasagne al pesto , tortelli di zucca (type of ravioli filled with pumpkin pulp and amaretti crumbles) in northern Italy, cappelletti or fettuccine and ragu bolognese more in the central regions, to the above you just add more fish recipes such as typical Capitone (European Eel) popular in southern Italy.

The second course can be roasted chicken or boiled stuffed capon, roasted meat or fish, and savory tarts filled with artichokes or other greens,  all served with salad and/or cooked vegetables, again according to local products/traditions and furthermore…how to forget cheese!  But I will not even try to quote here all the various regional types of cheese, or wines, as all this would need a whole new chapter.

Panettone is the classical Christmas dessert but you also have the well known Tiramisu, different kinds of Torrone, Cannoli Siciliani, Monte Bianco cake, you can also enjoy the very ancient recipes like Castagnaccio which is a plain chestnuts flour cake, typical of the central regions seasoned with pines nuts and dried little raisins often sprinkled with herbs like rosemary or fennel seeds, but also the typical Panforte of Siena and I Buccellati in Sicily or Parrozzo cake in Abruzzo, and so many more! Of course these mentioned are just a hint as for each region the choice is really wide.

Then you will have dried fruits like figs – natural or stuffed with walnuts or covered with chocolate – apricots, prunes, cherries, and all kinds of nuts like hazelnuts from Piemonte, almonds from Sicily and the famous Bronte pistachios.



Bits and Pieces on Christmas Traditions in Italy  by mn  – Part II

Pictures by mn

*  If you are interested search torrone candy.  mfa

39 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces on Christmas Traditions in Italy” by mn Part II”

    1. Marie, that sounds like a good idea!

      mn thanks for Christmas Traditions in Italy part 2 – the food sounds delicious especially the local specialties and the cakes!

  1. Reading this just brought back a flood of holiday memories for me. My family’s traditions sound almost exactly, especially since my family is from both Naples and Sicily so we had the best of both regions. Christmas Eve was always fish, and as soon as midnight came, Mom brought out all the cold cuts. Then later on we would have breakfast and then the cooking began. Dinner started with an antipasto of different salami’s, cheese, roasted peppers and olives; next course was the pasta, where each aunt, my grandma and Mom made their specialty dishes; next course was the meat and numerous side dishes; then of course the Italian pastries came out from many of New York’s best bakeries; last was the chestnuts and the figs, and of course either espresso or coffee. Great times! Thank you for taking me back.

  2. These articles are lovely, other countries have quite different cuisines and traditions at Christmas and it’s so interesting to learn about Italian traditions. Thank you so much and Buon Natale!

  3. I m so glad I was already stuffed from a pre-Christmas dinner with cousins! The food sounds wonderful. I am sure that the eel and figs would bear no resemblance to what I think of when I envision those foods. Merry Christmas to all of the Flight crew!

  4. “Thanks so much”, as Ignazio would say, to MFA for her assistance first, and Thank u All ! So nice to know you could re-callect and reconnect to your good memories !

    1. Thank you mn for the new insights on Christmas in Italy!

      When the boys say – in the US Christmas is different – do they just mean more commercial? To most of us it is about family, food and giving. Religious ceremony is a big part of Christmas to a lot if us too. I am trying to understand what they mean!

      1. Well I could just give it a guess. In the States and most likely in big cities where they have been, all might be “larger” so to speak, for instance we do not have so much malls events and so forth, at least that I know of, and also you appear to start celebrations earlier. Furthermore they do not really live the everyday life of a common person/family when there therefore they consider what is more related to what they experience through their work. Again would underline I’m just guessing.

  5. THANK YOU!! All that marvelous food, and I don’t even know what half of it is! My mouth is watering…….. I’m going to Italy.

  6. Il Volo with Rosario Fiorello, a showman very popular in Italy, presenter , singer , very very nice showman another Sicilian who’s making it big, the Boyzz at min. 3, then at min 9.26

    basically he prises them saying they brough Italian bel canto around the world and are very good, he involves them in a chorus to wish Happy birthday in Spanish to the Pope Francis and then joke together a little bit in Sicilian A).26min they sing a bit of il Mondo. and min 11.59 il Volo again singing .

  7. Just saw the “Boys” on twitter, they’re all going back to their homes today, say their promotional appearances are done. They’re very excited!! Have fun Guys!!!

  8. Buon Natale Album, Reviewed, together with other albums,
    By The Seattle Times – Melissa Ruggieri

    Il Volo, “Buon Natale: The Christmas Album”

    The guys in this Italian pop-opera trio continue to prove their undeniable talent.

    Their solid grasp of English infuses “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” with a woozy ache, and their sprightly medley of “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is wisely backed by a traditional big band arrangement to enforce familiarity.
    While the threesome harmonizes with startling clarity, just try not to be impressed by baritone Gianluca Ginoble on “O Holy Night.”
    The group also stays true to tradition not only by keeping their native language in the album title (“Buon Natale” means Merry Christmas) but also by tackling “Silent Night” in its original German incarnation, “Stille Nacht.”
    Ginoble and tenors Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto pull in pal Pia Toscano for “The Christmas Song,” which is given a pensive gloss thanks to some French horn. The duet will go a long way to remind people about Toscano, an “American Idol” also-ran who deserves her own spotlight.
    All around, “Buon Natale: The Christmas Album” is bellissimo.

    1. A fellow italiano did the review. Great review but I would NEVER try to NOT be impressed by anything “baritone Gianluca Ginoble” sings! That would take too much trying! I was prepared TO BE impressed before I even got the CD out of it’s packaging!

    2. Mlla, You find the BEST videos and write-ups about Our Boys!!! Thank you so much for all your research and sharing. I truly wish I spoke and understood Italian so that I could learn even more about Our Guys. Please keep on posting anything and everything you can find!!!

  9. Mllo, thanks for the great videos. I love seeing them in a different setting. Piero was really having fun. It is so nice to see they are relaxing even though they are still working. Hope the real resting begins when they get home. However, it doesn’t take young people long to rejuvenate. I miss them (him) the MOSTEST!!!! Haha

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