CAN WE PUT UP XMAS DECORATIONS YET?: DECEMBER 8TH IN ITALY
Now that we have entered December, the holiday cheer is coming alive. For the more enthusiastic families that celebrate Christmas, the decorations may come out as early as November. Here in Italy, most take advantage of December 8th, a national holiday in honor of the Immaculate Conception.
The Christian Church celebrates the Immaculate Conception, a Catholic dogma that does not deal – as is commonly believed – with the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, but which instead establishes that the Virgin Mary is immune from original sin. The Immaculate Conception is a very important moment for the Christian Church and although Italy is a secular country (as our Constitution states), Italian traditions are closely linked to the Catholic religion.
Translating religious traditions to holiday cheer led to the fateful date of December 8th as a family Christmas Decoration Day. When families put out their nativity scenes – a historic and intricate tradition in Italy – other decorations came out with them. The Christmas tree – which is not of religious tradition – has conformed to the tradition of the nativity scene.
Italy’s Best’s offices in Rome will be following the time honored to put up candy-striped bells and golden lights on December 8th but, it must be said that everyone decorates on the day they deem most appropriate. In Milan, everything is done on December 7th in honor of Saint Ambrose; same thing in Bari, where you roll up your sleeves one day earlier, in honor of San Nicola di Bari on December 6th.
We’re looking forward to a little holiday cheer after this year!