Top 6 Unusual Christmas Traditions In Italy

Christmas is a special celebration in Italy, and it’s a time for families to come together and enjoy traditional dishes, music, decorations, and gifts. It’s a time for giving, showing appreciation, and reflecting on our blessings throughout the year. Italians take religion very seriously when celebrating Christmas, and religion plays a vital role in the traditions that dominate the holiday season. This article reveals the most famous Italian rules, so prepare for the holiday!

1 – Christmas Tree Decorations

In Italy, Christmas trees are often decorated with colorful ornaments and lights. Baubles, tinsel, and garlands hung from the branches add to the festive spirit. Some Italians also hang religious symbols such as Angels or Stars of Bethlehem on their trees. Candles are often placed around the tree as well. When lit, they bring light and warmth to the home. But, of course, no Italian Christmas tree is complete without a traditional star or angel at its top. They symbolize the birth of Jesus – a reminder of his divine presence even during the festivities! So, whether you head out to buy decorations in Italy or craft your unique decorations, it’s sure to be a memorable experience! Christmas in Italy is truly an event to remember!

2 – Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve dinner is a time-honored tradition celebrated across cultures. While the customs and dishes served may vary, it’s always a time to gather around and share the joy of the season. From England, where families serve a turkey with all the trimmings, to Italy, where La Vigilia di Natale is celebrated with seven different types of seafood, there is something special about gathering around a table to celebrate the warmth and love that comes with the season.

Christmas Eve dinner is a key part of Italian Christmas traditions. It’s tradition for families to gather around the table for a festive feast featuring seven different dishes. The number seven is thought to represent the number of days in a week, and Christmas Eve dinner is meant to be a special celebration. Dishes served at Christmas Eve dinners usually include fish, pasta, antipasto, and other delicious favorites. In addition, this meal often comprises dishes such as lasagna, cannelloni, stuffed zucchini, salads, and seafood. After dinner, all family members go to church together to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Top 6 Unusual Christmas Traditions In Italy

After midnight mass, it’s time for La Befana, an old Italian tradition where a witch-like figure delivers presents on the night of January 5th. Children leave out stockings filled with treats and sweets for her visit that night, and she rewards them by filling the stockings with presents.

3 – Christmas Day Lunch

Christmas Day Lunch in Italy is an experience like no other. Italians embrace the festive season with lots of enthusiasm and ensure everyone in their family has a particular day, starting with a special Christmas lunch.

It’s traditional for Christmas lunch to be a large and lavish affair with plenty of delicious dishes. Christmas lunch usually includes courses like appetizers, pasta, fish, and meat, followed by desserts like panettone or pandoro.

4 – Christmas Cake

Christmas cake in Italy is always a special treat! It’s typically made with panettone, a slice of sweet bread with candied fruits, raisins, and other ingredients like chocolate chips. This cake is usually served on Christmas Eve, and the festive flavors make it an ideal way to end the big day. In some regions of Italy, like Sicily, the cake is also known as panettone Alla Frutta and includes dried fruits for extra unique sweetness. It can be served plain or with a dusting of icing sugar. Many families in Italy take pride in making their variation of Christmas cake, and it’s often used to bring luck and prosperity into the new year. Whether you opt for the classic panettone or choose a unique recipe, Christmas cake in Italy is always delicious and sure to be enjoyed by all! So share the joy of this special holiday treat with those you love and make memories that last a lifetime. Buon Natale!

5 – Nativity Scenes, a presepe

No Italian Christmas is complete without the presence of Nativity scenes, which are often decorated with lights and statues. In addition, it’s traditional for families to set up a Christmas nativity scene in their homes with clay figurines depicting the infant Jesus in a manger surrounded by his mother Mary, and father Joseph, and the Three Wise Men, along with other characters from the story. These displays honor Jesus’s birth, reminding Italians of its religious significance.

6 – Christmas Lights

Christmas lights are also an essential part of traditions in Italy. People love decorating their homes with Christmas lights, usually around Christmas Eve. Christmas lights can be seen in windows, doorways, and other places around the house. They typically have a snowflake or Christmas tree theme to add festive cheer.


Learn new cultures and incorporate these Christmas traditions into your holiday celebrations; you’ll be able to experience an authentic Italian Christmas in your own home. Merry Christmas!


Kristen Bray is a professional writer and а blogger. She has been working as an editor at а Best Essays Education. Kristen mainly covers topics such as blogging, digital marketing, and self-education. In her free time, she practices yoga and also travels.

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