Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Around the World – When in Rome

From the 17th of December until the 6th day of January, Christmas is celebrated throughout the regions of Italy. The first eight days of celebration is the Novena, which consists of days of caroling and door to door good cheer from children of all ages. It may be accompanied by shepherds and their musical instruments or simply poetry reading from children. Novena is a Catholic term that means nine, and it represents dedication to the church. The readings and songs are derived from the Catholic prayer books. The original novena was derived from the Greeks who observed nine days of mourning after the death of a loved one. It later was incorporated into the church as a tribute to the church of Acts where the apostles and Mary prayed for nine days after the Last Supper.

Novena as it is expressed here is the anticipation of the arrival of Christ that will be ended with a large feast.

Eight days prior to Christmas, there are musical celebrations in the homes of carpenters, and there are musical tributes played at the Shrine of Mary. This is the heralding in of the church services that happen before Christmas in the Catholic Church. At this time, the children dress up as shepherds and go back to caroling. They are given money to buy Christmas presents from the homes that they sing at.

Twenty four hours before Christmas Eve, there is a fast that will last until Christmas Eve, which will end in a feast without meat. The Feast of the Seven Fishes – cenone – is celebrated on Christmas Eve, and it is considered a way of paying penance by fasting from certain foods. The meal is served late in the evening, and the participants wait for the arrival of Christ at midnight.

Cenone can be filled with seafood, eel, mushrooms, truffles, clams, linguini, foccacia, seafood pie, tuna, soups and octopus stew. The Feast of the Seven Fishes can be interpreted as the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Sacraments or other interpretations depending upon the region the meal is being served. There is also a lot of deep frying going on on Christmas Eve in the Italian homes. Followed by desserts of Christmas cookies and pastries.

Seafood Soup

Italian Christmas Dinner

The Crib

The Italian Christmas celebration would not be right if it did not include a nativity scene of some sort. The presepio is the centerpiece of the celebration. It depicts the traditional manger scene, but goes on to add more non-traditional figures to the crib. This can include other figures, animals, scenic pieces, trees and angels. The figures are highly detailed and usually handcarved.

There is great care in creating the crib or ceppo for the holiday, and some have very strict rules about how it will be created. The traditional method is to design it on a triangular piece of wood and add the Holy family. Then build a wooden frame with a pyramid several feet high that will become home to paper, pine cones, glitter, flags, ornaments and small trees that represent the Christmas tree. There may be a tree for each child in the family. Some presepio will have candles on the corners that will be lit. The wooden frame will be held up with shelves that will house gifts, candy or anything else that the family wants to add. There will be a star or a small doll that is hung at the apex of the frame. The triangle is a the forerunner to the Christmas tree and is known as the ceppo, which means Tree of Light.

A presepio.

A ceppo with a pineapple on top. The ceppo is also the Yule log that is burned on the Eve of Christmas.

Urn of Fate

Gift giving is done in a few different ways for the Italian families. The Urn of Fate is a large bowl that houses all the gifts that are brought to the Christmas Eve celebration. Those gifts are all thrown in the bowl, and they have no names attached to them. Everyone chooses a gift until they are all gone. This makes it all a surprise.

Children traditionally hang their stockings out on the 5th of January, so they can be filled by Befana. She is a witch that was originally asked by the Magi for directions to Bethlehem. She was asked to join them on their quest to see the King, but she refused. Later, a shepherd asked her to come along with him, and she refused him as well. She then was greeted by a great light in the sky and decided that maybe she should have gone along with them. In an effort to catch up, she took toys that had belonged to son that she had lost and jumped on her broomstick to try and catch up with the rest. She failed, so now she spends eternity going from house to house with toys while she searches for the Baby Jesus.

Befena

We have the Italians to thank for the wonderful Christmas carols and nativity scenes that are part of the common household celebrations of Christmas.

Christmas Day is spent going to church, and the pope gives a noon blessing to the crowds in Vatican City.

 

Maybe you can find something in this dazzling list of gift ideas that would be perfect to drop into the Urn of Fate.

 

jnldesigns

Blue and Silver Interchangeable Purse Charm

Blue and Silver Interchangeable Purse Charm

ElunaJewelry

Elegant Sky Blue Crystal Teardrop Necklace, Wire Wrapped with Sterling Silver

 

Elegant Sky Blue Crystal Teardrop Necklace, Wire Wrapped with Sterling Silver

specialtivity

Silver Chain Swarovski Tanzanite Chandelier Handmade Earrings

Silver Chain Swarovski Tanzanite Chandelier Handmade Earrings

ResetarGlassArt

Turquoise Blue Layers Square Pendant Necklace, Handmade Fused Glass

Turquoise Blue Layers Square Pendant Necklace, Handmade Fused Glass

Aboli

Bird's Nest Necklace Peacock Teal Blue Pearls

image

BlindEyeArtist

Star Shooter archer faerie shooting stars from bow and moon in background in tones of silver and purple

Star Shooter archer faerie shooting stars from bow and moon in background in tones of silver and purple

Covergirlbeads

Blue Crystal Earrings With Sterling Silver Chain Dangle Wire Wrapped

Blue Crystal Earrings Sterling Silver Chain Dangle

Dreamcatcherman

Dragons Keep totem Crystal beaded bead necklace Dragon Charm Pendant

Dragons Keep totem Crystal beaded bead necklace Dragon Charm Pendant

WireCrafters

Wire Wrapped Opaque Darker Marine Blue Stained Glass Earrings

Wire Wrapped Opaque Darker Marine Blue Stained Glass Earrings

BrulezRulez

Doctor Who Tardis Blue Enamel Charm Necklace

Doctor Who Tardis Blue Enamel Charm Necklace

Wyverndesigns

Steam Punk Sea Horse Pendant Necklace

 

Steam Punk Sea Horse Pendant Necklace

LilBitOLove

2 Color Toilet Tattoo Vinyl Decal for Toilet Tank Portal

 2 Color Toilet Tattoo Vinyl Decal for Toilet Tank Portal to the F

craftingmemories

Icy Jewels Earrings with Swarovski Bicones and SS Findings

 

Icy Jewels Earrings with Swarovski Bicones and SS Findings

TheTwistedRedhead

Wavy Bookmark with Iridescent Rich Navy Blue Beads and Silver Charms

Wavy Bookmark with Iridescent Rich Navy Blue Beads and Silver Charms

 

MagpieSue

Vintage Petit Point Pointe Necklace, Blue Flower, Silver tone, pendant

Vintage Petit Point Pointe Necklace, Blue Flower, Silver tone, pendant

postcardsintheattic

Antique Postcard "New Year Greetings" Holly with Silver Bells Winter Church Scene next to river Embossed 1913

Antique Postcard "New Year Greetings" Holly with Silver Bells Winter Church Scene next to river Embossed 1913

magsbeadscreation

Crocheted Bracelet, Vibrant Blue Jewelry, Pearls and Crystals Crochet JewelleryCrocheted Bracelet, Vibrant Blue Jewelry, Turquoise Blue Shade, Pearls and Crystals Crochet Jewellery, Brides, Bridesmaid Bracelet

adorebynat

Personalized Elephant Favor Tags for Baby Boy Shower Party in Blue

Personalized Elephant Favor Tags for Baby Boy Shower Party in Blue

Umeboshi

Blue Lagoon Silver Plated Bracelet w Textured Dichroic Glass Cabochon

Blue Lagoon Silver Plated Bracelet w Textured Dichroic Glass Cabochon

KevsKrafts

Boy Baby Foot Decor Little Feet Make Big Footprints Handmade Wood

 

Boy Nursery Wall Decor Little Feet Make Big Footprints Handmade Wood

cardsbylibe

Merry Christmas Silver Ornament Handcrafted Greeting Card

Merry Christmas Silver Ornament Handcrafted Greeting Card

jazzitupwithdesignsbynancy

Blue Swarovski Crystal Silver Glass Bead Memory Wire Bangle Bracelet

Blue Swarovski Crystal and Silver Memory Wire Bangle Bracelet

dianesdangles

Blue Glass Swarovski Crystal Beaded Charm Dangle Silver Chain Bracelet

Blue Glass Swarovski Crystal Beaded Charm Dangle Silver Chain Bracelet

bluemorningexpressions

Earrings White Flower Polymer Clay Dangle Chain Swarovski Crystal Bead

Earrings White Flower Polymer Clay Dangle Chain Swarovski Crystal Bead

ShadowDogDesigns

Believe Cross Necklace Pearls Lampwork Handmade Christian Jewelry

Believe Cross Necklace Pearls Lampwork Sterling Handmade Christian

PrettyGonzo

Pearl and Sapphire Crystal Earrings Swarovski Sterling Silver Handmade

Pearl and Sapphire Crystal Earrings Swarovski Sterling Silver Handmade

ThaddeusRose

Lapis Pendant, Coral, Crystals, Glass Pearls and Silver Necklace, Blue

Lapis Pendant, Coral, Crystals, Glass Pearls and Silver Necklace, Blue

evezbeadz

Sodalite Gem w/ Winter Dendric Agate Silver Plated Pendant Necklace

Sodalite Gem w/ Winter Dendric Agate Silver Plated Pendant Necklace

PutmanLakeDesigns

Modern Snow Themed Quilted Wall Hanging w/ Wind and Snowflakes

Modern Snow Themed Quilted Wall Hanging w/ Wind and Snowflakes

TheOldBarnDoor

Frost on Wire Fence Nature Photography on Blank Note Card - A Cold Frosty One

Frost on Wire Fence Nature Photography on Blank Note Card - A Cold Frosty One

craftsofthepast

Necklace of India Foil Lined Old Glass Beads and Brocade Silver

Necklace of India Foil Lined Old Glass Beads and Brocade Silver

Thesingingbeader

Dark blue satin pearl bracelet linked sterling silver toggle clasp

Navy dark blue link pearl small bracelet sterling silver  toggle clasp

 

Finish your pizza, drink your champagne and let’s move to our next stop. We only have a few more stops!

Enjoy,

Julie and Blu

20 comments:

  1. Thanks, Julie and Blu for the information on the Italian celebration of Christmas. I learned a few things today and that makes it a good day. I used to tell the kids that they should learn something new every day. One day a boy said that he'd learned something new already and asked if he could go home!! KIDS!!!! lol Thanks for including my wall hanging of the sky and wind to these great blue items!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is wonderful to read all the various traditions. We (Greek, Slavic and Syrian) Orthodox begin our St Phillip's Fast (or Advent) on November 15 and remain meatless until Christmas Day after Divine Liturgy. Then we devour a cow or chicken -- well some like ham, too.
    Anna

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think I put on 5 lbs. just looking at the picture of that Italian Christmas dinner! lol Enjoyed reading and looking at all the beautiful items that will make fantastic Christmas gifts. Thank you for including my bracelet! - The Singing Beader

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love reading about Christmas around the world, very interesting. Thank you Julie and Blu and thank you for including my Icy Jewels Earrings.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Another absolutely fascinating post. Raised as a Catholic, there always seemed to be novenas - now I know where they came from. Thanks! Give be a big bowl of the cenone any day (especially on this chilly day!) Thank yo for adding my "Believe" cross necklace. Will share this post far and wide. Thanks again, Julie and Blu!

    ReplyDelete
  6. How very Blue-tiful! Thank You for adding my necklace Julie, you make me blush, Eve :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. And to think I've been celebrating Christmas for *%*^ years now, and I knew very little about those lovely Italian traditions. Well, as they say, when in Rome... Thanks for the story, Julie and Blu, and for providing us with a feast for the eyes as well. Much appreciate the inclusion of my bluesy beaded bookmark. Will be sharing so all can appreciate!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You create the best post. Thank you.
    Grady at WireCrafters

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fascinating post! Thank you for including my blue Swarovski crystal silver bracelet.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is such a wonderful post - so interesting! I love this Christmas Around the World series that you're doing, Julie - thanks for sharing it! Also, thank you so much for including my earrings here. Gonze wishes fun biscotti treats for beautiful Blu! :) Off to tweet (again) ...

    ReplyDelete
  11. It would be an honour to be included in that urn of fate. Thank you very much for including my chandelier earrings Julie. I'm happy to share :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Once again a fascinating post with so much information. Thank you Julie for this and for including my card.
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  13. Enjoyed another wonderful post. Thanks so much for so many interesting articles on Christmas around the World. Will share!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Another interesting post about Christmas traditions! You've chosen some lovely blue finds to accompany your post, too!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Incredible post, I always learn so much! Thank you for including my blue swarovski bracelet. Happy to share!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love all the blue pieces you featured in this article - and the article was fabulous. So much to learn about. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Another great article of Christmas around the world! I love all these stops and I know I'll be sad when it ends.
    Thank you so much for including my elephant favor tags.
    Adorebynat - Handmade Party Decorations and Stationery

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beautiful blues, also enjoyed the stories.

    ReplyDelete
  19. YUMMY! The word describes the Italian Christmas Feast and the lovely icy blue handmade items you've shared this week from the Countdown to Christmas.

    ReplyDelete