In Italy, people participate in large-scale holidays such as Christmas and Easter, but there are also many celebrations (le sagre) specific to each region. For these events, there is usually an emphasis on family, art, and culture. These events are an opportunity for people to socialize with one another and are an excellent way to honor different cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
Some popular holidays include...
Il Carnevale—the day before Ash Wednesday, the celebrations and parties begin. People wear fancy masks and elaborate costumes and everyone attends masquerade balls 🎭 💃🏽
History: Can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Romans. It represents a moment in the mythic cycle and is the movement of the spirits between heaven, earth, and the underworld. It is a passage between earth and the underworld, and for a brief period, the living lend the dead their bodies, but masks must be worn :)
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Pasqua (Easter)—religious parades and celebrations are held, a statue of Jesus or Mother Mary is carried, and meals commonly include eggs, Easter pie, and lamb.
Christmas Dinner 🐟 🦃
Italy—fish is served (tradition says to avoid meat), and panettone or pandora are the desserts of choice, followed by a bingo match
USA—turkey is served with lots of cookies and pie
Christmas Decorating 🎊 🎉
Italy—preparation begins Dec. 8, which is the national holiday known as the "Immaculate Conception." Fewer decorations, with a greater emphasis on environmental protection
USA—Americans start to decorate immediately after Thanksgiving. The buildings and homes are decorated beautifully and extravagantly, and one of the highlights is the giant Rockefeller tree in NYC -
Christmas Presents 🎁 🎁
Italy—some gifts are given on Christmas day, but most are received 12 days after Christmas, on Jan. 6. This symbolizes when the Three Wise Men gave gifts to baby Jesus
USA—most gifts are opened first thing Christmas morning, with some families even allowing children to open 1-2 presents on Christmas Eve
Easter Bunny 🐰 🐰
Italy—just a story, but not a focal point of the holiday
USA—a human-sized rabbit that brings chocolate and candies to children. Extremely commercialized and Americans can even travel to malls and have their picture taken with the animal
Italy—VERY important. Churches are darker, the sermons maintain a more serious tone, and the mood is peaceful
USA—lots of singing and dancing, and people leave in a jolly mood. For most, this is one of the only times they will attend church during the year
Easter Dinner 🐐 🐓
Italy—not dinner, but instead Italians have lunch. Lamb or goat are the popular items
USA—small brunch in the morning then a HUGE dinner in the evening. Chicken is the popular dish
These events are put on by specific regions, and they celebrate the use of the land. There is an emphasis on the culinary arts, and, usually, they are grand events with opportunities for socialization, a chance to honor different cultures and beliefs, and many different fun activities with HUGE amounts of food NOM NOM NOM.
The Italians assume a more-relaxed lifestyle than the majority of Americans. During the week, they tend to take full advantage of any free time they have in between their hours at work, school, etc. People like to meet their friends at the movies, a restaurant, a stadium, a mall, shopping centers, etc. In addition, Italian citizens enjoy relishing in many of the integral cultural aspects of Italian society such as music, art, food, and sports...
- Voices are usually emotional and authentic
- Rich connection with ancient Romans and Greeks
- Many museums throughout the country with beautiful paintings
- Mediterranean culture - fish, olives, vegetables, wine
- Always fresh ingredients
- The most popular sport is soccer (Calcio), but many individual sports also have big followings
- Seen as social events because of the extreme camaraderie
The piazzas are the open spaces surrounded by the most important buildings in the cities. They are used for public gatherings such as celebrations and markets.
Identity—represent the culture, image, history, and character of the town
Attractions—near civic buildings or religious figures
Amenities—surrounded by cafes, restaurants, markets, retail stores
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