Winter is a very important time of year for religious and cultural traditions in Italy. This article will take you through some of them, showing you only a small part of the wonderful Christmas traditions that cross Italy.

Winter is tradition

The heart of winter, as we all know, are the Christmas holidays, Italy from North to South is crossed by hundreds of cultural, culinary, religious and artistic traditions. From the Nativity crib to the Christmas tree, passing by the struffoli and the panettone. Without forgetting then of St. Stephen's Day and New Year's Day, arriving until Epiphany. In this article you will find some curiosities of places and cities inextricably linked to this period.

Christmas in Naples: San Gregorio Armeno, the street of the Nativity cribs

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Needless to go around, Naples is the city of Christmas, it would be enough just to mention the century-old crib and pastoral tradition located in the heart of the historic center in Via San Gregorio Armeno. Or think only of the culinary traditions of the place: starting from the eve dinner with fish, passing through the struffoli. Without giving up the game of Tombola, which is a tradition in the homes of Neapolitans, accompanies the evening of December 24. 

St. Stephen's and its traditions

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On December 26, for the Church, the first saint after the advent of Christ, who fought to bear witness to his faith, is celebrated. In fact, on this date, all the martyrs of the history of Christianity are also celebrated. On this very special day for the liturgy of the church, so many are the traditions and customs linked to them, in this regard we want to talk about the Feast of the Propaggini, in Putignano, Puglia. On December 26th, in fact, the so-called "Longest Carnival in the world" begins. During this particular festival a stage is set up in the most important square of the Apulian town, welcoming various street artists who perform in the local language, who usually prepare satirical texts about politicians and current affairs. A ritual almost aimed at exorcising the evils of today's society, in order to hope for a better future.

Epiphany around Italy.

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The feast of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6 throughout Italy, is a very heartfelt traditional feast and represents the tail of Italian Christmas celebrations. The Epiphany commemorates the day on which the three Magi arrived at the manger bringing with them gifts for the Baby Jesus. But the Epiphany has also taken on a profane face over the centuries; in fact the term has been transformed in some regions of southern Italy into "Befana", thus giving rise to the legend of the lady covered in old rags, who on a flying broom dispenses sweets to good children and charcoal to those a little more mischievous. A mix then of sacred and profane that has led over time to the birth of characteristic traditions, here follow some of them:

In Venice, on the occasion of the Epiphany, the characteristic Regatta of the Befana takes place. 50 men and women dressed as witches will challenge each other with oars in the Grand Canal. The winner will be the one who first crosses the finish line, consisting of a very long sock hanging over the Rialto Bridge. Moving then towards the Friuli you will come across a long series of bonfires: these are the so-called Panevin bonfires, the propitiatory bonfires on which the hag is used to burn. The direction of the smoke will serve to describe the lucky or not lucky trend of the coming year.

To finish with Rome, every year in the capital you can watch a beautiful costume parade from Castel Sant'Angelo to St. Peter's Square.

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