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Christmas General Italy Traditions

Saint Nicolas (San Nicola) Feast Day

 

San Nicola Basilica - Bari
San Nicola Basilica in Bari – Copyright (c) 1998 Hewlett-Packard Company

When sailors from Bari saved the relics of Saint Nicholas from his resting place in Muslim controlled Myra in 1087, they began a tradition which, in 2012, celebrates its 925th anniversary: the Festa di San Nicola.

REAS HOW BARI CELEBTRATES ITS PATRON, SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA

This Christian festivity is celebrated December 6 in many other places, like in the Abruzzo region where traditional loaves of bread and taralli (hard, round biscuits) often enjoyed with wine.

Gran Sasso – photo by Marco Equiz/Getty Images

Saint Nicholas is known as the bringer of gifts, and grandfathers dress up as the Saint to give gifts (or “coal”) to children.

Murano Island in Venice holds a week-long celebration for San Nicolo, the patron saint of glass blowers complete with a procession on the water December 6.

Murano – photo by Didier Marti/Getty Images

Elsewhere, in the village of Val di Fassa on December 5 and 6, San Nicolò, the protector of children, along with two angels and Krampus, will hand out gifts after making sure each child has been nice the previous year.



Italian phrase of the day
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