Christmas Decorations & Celebrations around the World – Part 3 – Italy & Greece

Print Friendly

Nativity Christmas Decorations

Chances are if you are reading this blog post you live in the United States so you know how we love Christmas decorations.  We trim a Christmas tree, exchange gifts, have bountiful meals, decorate our houses inside and out, bake cookies and more.  But, how do other countries celebrate this religious day?  This 3 part series will cover many areas of the world and are grouped by geographic areas.  Part 1 covered North & South America, Part 2 India & Africa, Part 3 Italy & Greece.

Italy
A nativity scene is the center of decoration where guests kneel and musicians sing before it.  The figures in the nativity scene may be hand-carved and very detailed.  The manger is topped by a pyramid like structure where fruit, candy and small presents may be placed on its shelves.

In Rome cannons are fired on Christmas Eve to announce the holiday season.  On January 6th, the Epiphany, presents are exchanged.  La Befana (i.e. Christmas Witch) delivers punishment for the bad and presents for the good.

Italians always love to celebrate with some good wine, cheese and bread…just like our Italian Santa Christmas Ornament.

Italian Santa Christmas Ornament

Greece
Gifts are usually exchanged on St. Basil’s Day, January 1st.  Christmas ranks second to Easter as far as importance of the major holidays.  Children visit their neighbors on Christmas Eve offering good wishes and singing carols. Christmas trees are rare in Greece. A daily ritual transpires where basil is wrapped around a cross and hung from a shallow wooden bowl with a small amount of water in the bowl. One family member dips the cross and basil into holy water and sprinkles each room in the home.  A fire burns day and night for 12 days from Christmas to the Epiphany or January 6th to ward off evil spirits.  On St. Basil’s Day, January 1st, presents are exchanged.

To learn more about how people in Greece celebrate Christmas, read our article, Christmas in Greece.

Continue reading our series on Christmas Decorations & Celebrations around the World.  Part 1 covered North & South America, Part 2 India & Africa, Part 3 Italy & Greece.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>