Celebrating Christmas Like the Italians

Christmas is a wonderful time of year and it’s a holiday that we all celebrate a little differently. Here at Diforti, we have a range of ingredients perfect to serve as party food for the festive season. But how do the Italians celebrate Christmas?

The Lead Up to Christmas Day

Christmas over in Italy is all about spending time with family they love and lots of food. That’s pretty much the same for here in the UK. And the preparations for Christmas itself start around the 8th December. A lot of Italians will celebrate the religious aspects of the festive season with various activities that occur in the lead up to the big day, with Christmas Eve being the most important.

Christmas is a family affair with letters written to loved ones and Father Christmas, which tend to be read out on Christmas Day.

In Rome, crowds will gather in St Peter’s Square for evening mass conducted by the Pope on Christmas Eve. At midnight, churches will ring their bells and cannons are fired from Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo to signify and celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.

Feast of Food

Food is a big part of the Christmas period, as it is in many countries across the globe. The food on Christmas Day in Italy varies from region to region. Cenone (the big dinner), is a feast of meat accompanied by pasta. You’ll find lots of authentic Italian food on the table especially when it comes to dessert. The most popular being Panettone made up of flour, eggs, butter, raisins, sugar, candied orange and citron, lemon peel and vanilla extract.

At Diforti, our Italian deli online has a selection of traditional desserts available like our Sicilian Cannoli with Hazelnut Chocolate Cream or Almond Cantuccini, made using a Diforti secret recipe. Across the country, Italians traditionally abstain from meat on Christmas Eve as per the Roman Catholic customs. Therefore, a seafood feast is normally served for the evening meal.

If you fancy following the Italian tradition, we have a selection of ingredients for seafood dishes that will go down well. From our Anchovy Fillets with Parsley and Garlic` to the delicious Grated Tuna Bottarga.

Post-Christmas Day

Like most children in Britain anticipate the arrival of Father Christmas, someone else is considered in Italy to be just as important and that’s Le Befana. An old witch who is said to bring gifts on January 5th, commonly known as Epiphany Eve. Children will place stockings up in the hopes that the witch will place gifts inside for them. This is considered to be the main day for present giving and normally on Christmas Day, smaller gifts from Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) will be given out.

Whatever you do for Christmas, traditions are very important so if you find yourself in Italy for the festive season, be sure to immerse yourself in all that they have to offer. At Diforti, we have a great range of food gifts and food gift ideas for Christmas so check them out in our gifts section.


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