December 2018 Events

Dec. 6 – St. Nicolas Feast Day, Abruzzo region. Nicholas is known as the bringer of gifts and on his feast day, many grandfathers dress up as the saint and give gifts to children, including “coal” made of sugar for those who have been bad! Traditional loaves of bread and taralli (hard, round biscuits) are often enjoyed with local wine. Girls from around the country visit the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari to pay respect to the patron saint of young women wanting to get married. San Nicola’s feast day is widely celebrated throughout the country.

Dec. 8 – Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception. The national holiday features celebrations all over the country. Special masses are held in most churches and parades, feasts and music can be found in most cities. Abruzzo celebrates with a bonfire and traditional singing while Rome celebrates with floral wreaths and a ceremony at the Spanish Steps presided over by the Pope.

Through Dec. 10 – Wild Boar Festival, Suvereto, Tuscany. The two-week festival ends with a big feast on Dec. 10. While wild boar is the main course, visitors will also find other local products like wine, olive oil and honey and people in medieval costume and medieval competitions.

Dec. 13 – St. Lucia Day. Many towns celebrate the patron saint of blindness. One of the biggest celebrations takes place in Sicily where the city of Siracusa holds a huge parade carrying the saint on a golden coffin to the Church of Santa Lucia. Thousands of pilgrims come to the city and the festivities end with a huge firework display over the harbor.

Dec. 26 – St. Stephen’s Day. The day after Christmas is a national holiday in Italy called St. Stephen’s Day. While Christmas day is spent at home with family, St. Stephen’s Day is a time to walk the streets and visit nativity scenes, offering donations to local churches.

Through Jan. 9 – Florence Noel, Montecatini Terme (northeast of Florence). The Tuscany city hosts this annual Florentine tradition of family events with many children’s activities such as the house of Babbo Natale, Father Christmas. Other events include a nativity village, food and chocolate sampling and live music.

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