Celebrate Christmas the Italian Way!

Christmas in Italy can look very similar to Christmas here in the States. There are several traditions, though, that make it unique to only their culture. The Christmas season lasts from the beginning of December till January 6th for La Befana. While St. Nick is a part of their Christmas celebrations, he is not the focus, and instead, they celebrate a kind "old witch" who brings gifts to the children on January 6th. Here are a few other interesting and fun facts about Christmas in Italy!

The 8 Days of Christmas

You can expect to see lots of singers and hear traditional carols around Italy for the 8 days before Christmas, or Novena. If you're around Rome, Southern Italy or Sicily you may even be lucky enough to see shepherds (zampognari) who come down from the mountains and play bagpipes.

Christmas Markets

All throughout Italy you'll find the joy of Christmas spread our the towns and cities. There are Christmas markets full sweets, fruits, nuts and gifts. While you'll still find Santa around town so you can take photos with him, you'll also find La Befana (the good witch) so you can take photos with her as well. You can learn more about the Christmas markets, as well as La Befana in this video:

Gift Exchange

The time of day the Italian's choose to exchange their gifts could give you a clue as to where they are from. In most places gifts are exchanged on Christmas day after lunch. There are a few northern towns that believe that the blind St. Lucia brings gifts to the children on December 13th, and so they open their gifts then.

Sharing a Meal

Some Italians believe that Christmas Eve is a day of fasting, and though they may eat a light dinner that night it will mostly consist of fish and not other meats. Christmas dinner is an extravagant meal, and many Italians will save up so they can make it amazing. On Christmas night the children will leave milk and "biscotti" (biscuits) out for St. Nick, but on January 6th, they leave "vino rosso" (red wine) for La Befana.

"Buon Natale" (Merry Christmas) from Li'l Rizzo's

The entire Li'l Rizzo's family wants to wish you a very Merry Christmas! Both of our restaurants will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that we can enjoy the holiday with our family. We hope to see you after the holiday and celebrate the end of this wonderful season at the best Italian restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks! Merry Christmas!

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