December 2016 events

The Christmas holiday events are the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), Christmas Eve and St. Stephens Day, Dec. 26.

The Wild Boar Festival of Suvereto (Toscana) is a 10-day event that begins at the end of November and lasts through Dec. 8. The main entrée for the feast is wild boar with sides from the area such as wine, olive oil and honey.

The Snail Festival of Borgo San Dalmazzo (Cuneo) is believed to have been established by Filiberto di Savoia. It celebrates snails and includes gastronomical shows and a variety of entertainment.

Dec. 4 - St. Barbara Day is celebrated on the slopes of Mt. Etna in Paterno (Sicily).  A parade precedes the placement of a nativity scene. St. Barbara is the town protectress of firework-makers and firemen. She is also called
upon during eruptions of Mt. Etna.

Dec. 6 - The Feast of San Nicolo. In Pollutri (Chieti/Abruzzo) fava beans are cooked in large copper pots in front of the church of San Nicolo recalling a famine during the 15th century. Other San Nicolo commemorations are held in Vipiteno (Bolzano), Trieste, Bari, Murano Island, and Palermo.

Dec. 7 - St. Ambrogio Day. The celebration in Milan is acclaimed with food and vendor stalls where favorite items of the community are sold. St. Ambrogio is the patron saint of the city.

Dec. 8 - The Feast day of the Immaculate Conception is a national holiday. Celebrations take place nationwide and churches celebrate special masses. There are feasts, fairs, parades, and a variety of events, bonfires and fireworks. Rome celebrates with a major ceremony presided by Pope Francis at the newly renovated Spanish Steps. Many shops are open for holiday shopping.

Loreto (Ancona) is host to the arrival of the Holy House on the hill of Loreto (Festa della venuta). Commemoration of the event is the lighting of bonfires fogaro in the country side. Late evening religious ceremonies begin in the church and culminate with a procession; the statue of the Virgin Mary is carried by aviators, for she is their patroness.

Dec. 13 - Santa Lucia Day. There are celebrations in many Italian towns. In Belpasso (Catania) there is a parade of floats and the unveiling of the Christmas crib with its antique figurines. A variety of religious observances take place in Lecce Nei Marsi (L’Aquila), Siena and Siracusa where there is a huge parade carrying the saint on a golden coffin to the Church of Sana Lucia. On Dec. 20, another parade returns the saint to her crypt. The festivities end with a major fireworks display.

Dec. 25 – Christmas Day features massive nativity scenes and joyous and religious celebrations.

Dec. 26 - Saint Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, is a national holiday and events include the Ballo della pupa in Lama Dei Peligni (Chieti) and Santo Stefano sotto il campanon in Nizza Monferrato (Asti) where, at noon, the large medieval bell on the municipal tower tolls to recall an episode that occurred during the French occupation in 1798.