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					ITALIAN CHRISTMAS
• TRADITION AND CUSTOMS
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR BUON NATALE E FELICE ANNO NUOVO
Primary School De Amicis Ancona – Italy Class 5B

ORIGINS
Christmas, as it is celebrated in Italy, has two origins: the familiar tradition of Cristianity blended with the pagan tradition predating the Christmas era. The greatest feast of the ancient Roman Empirie, “Saturnalia” ( a winter celebration ),just happens to coincide with the Christmas celebrations of the Advent. Another tradition is the burning of the yule log, which must stay alight until New Years Day. This, again, is an example of pagan and Christian blending.

The log

The pagan belief explains the purifying and revitalizing power of fire, and that with the burning log, the old year and its evils are destroyed. Christian legend tells how the Virgin Mary enters the homes of the humble at midnight while the people are away at Midnight Mass and warms her newborn child before the blazing log.

CHRISTMAS TRADITION
• In Italy the Christmas tree decoration may begin on 8th. December or later. A delightful, but rapidly disappearing tradition in Italy, is the ushering in of the coming festivities by the“Zampognari”(pipers). They descend from the mountains of the Abruzzo and Latium playing inviting and characteristic tunes on their bagpipes, filling the air with anticipation for the joyous celebration to come. •

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CHRISTMAS PRESENTS
Most Italians open their presents on Christmas Day morning. On January 6th-Epiphany, l’Epifania - children each receive a stocks full of sweets, i dolciumi, if they’ve been good, but they’re filled with coal, il carbone, which is made of black sugar, if they’ve been bad. In Venice and Mantova, it’ s Santa Lucia who brings the present, while in some regions it’s Baby Jesus, Gesù Bambino, who bears the gifts. But nowadady 90% of Italy also believe in Santa Claus or Father Christmas, Babbo Natale.

A TRADITION FROM TRENTINO
• • In Trentino, a ragion of the Nothern Italy, in a small village of the Val di sole, there is the tradition of the “stella”. In the day of the Epiphany a big star, systematized on the summit of an along pole, it came around for the village from a group of young people that they sang a particular song, lift it up to the windows. The more generous people launched any coin.The picked money came given in beneficenze.

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FOOD E DRINK
In the italian catholic tradition, Christmas Eve is a day of abstinence from meat so a celebratory banquet often features il capitone, a dish made with fried eels, and i cardoni, a vegetable dish comprising mainly Jerusalem artichokes and eggs. After dinner, Italians head off for midnight mass. Lunch, il pranzo, on Christmas Day is the most important of all the Christmas feasts and is a lengthy affair. There is often crostini, with liver patè or the classic tortellini in chicken stock (brodo). There is also lo zampone and il cotechino,to be eaten with mash potato and lentils. is a sausage made from pig’s intestines containing a similar filling.

tortellini

ITALIAN CHRISTMAS CAKES AND THEIR ORIGIN
PANETTONE A high round cake, with and pieces of candied fruit. PANDORO a high cone-like cake, whose base is a star . It comes from Verona and gets its name (pandoro=golden bread) from the vivid yellow color. Others think that was named so because in Venice in the houses of the rich people it was decorated with leaves of real gold TORRONE A long and low, brick - like sweet: almonds imbedded in sugar mass.There are more variants, hard or soft ones; covered with chocolate or very thin wafer; other type is haselnuts imbedded in chocolate. The legend says that is was made the first time by the confectioners of Cremona as a wedding present for Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza (1441). The name comes from the tower of the city called Torrazzo. PANFORTE A large, low cake, very spicy ( that’s why it is called “forte” strong ). Was made the first time in the monasteries of Siena in the 12th century .

RECIPE OF THE CROCCANTE
Ingredients 500 (gr) almonds 500 (gr) sugar

croccante

Boil the almonds ,remove the peel untill they are hot. Put the almonds and the sugar in a saucepan. Light the fire and mix untill the sugar is melted. Put some oil on a flat plate and tip the contet of the saucepan. Give the wanted from crushing with on orange.

THE MOST FAMOUS ITALIAN CHRISTMAS CAKE
The origins and the real birth of the Panettone, the sweet symbol of Christmas goes back to olden times and becomes richer and richer as time goes by. One of the oldest stories is a real and proper love story that gives the date of birth of this cake as the 15th Century at the court of the Duke: “Ludovico Maria Sforza, known in history as Ludovico il Moro; when Eghetti degli Antellari, Milanese Cavalier, fell in love with Andalgisa, the daughter of Mastro Toni, baker in Porta Vercellina. The bold young man was burning with such a passion that he pretended to be a baker’s apprentice to get into the bakery of his loved one’s father to conquer her heart.

It was really because of his passion that he invented this sweet bread made of flour, yeast, butter, eggs and sugar to be then filled with raisins,candied citron and orange peels.This cake met with such success that Ughetto conquered the heart of not only his beloved but the whole family as well and they got married”.

LEGEND OF THE PANETTONE
A legend narrates that to the Christmas eve, in the court of the Ludovico Duke the Moro, Mr.from Milan, he was held a big lunch . For that occasion the head from kitchen had predisposed a particular sweet, worthy of close with happened the pompous banquet. But the sweet had burnt during the cooking and the panic gathered the whole kitchen. For make up for to the lack, a servant from kitchen, told Toni, proposed a sweet that he had prepared for oneself, using of the ingredients that he had found to disposition between the leftovers of the preceding preparation. The head cooks, not having other from choose, he decided to risk the all for all, serving the only sweet that had to disposition. A “sweet bread “unusual he had presented to the guests of the Duke, perfumed of candied fruit and butter, with a dome well burnished, he had greeted from roaring applauswes and, in an instant, it went to stealthe name of his creator and from that moment everybody eats and celebrates with “pan de Toni” (bread of Toni), that is the Panettone.

RECIPE OF PANETTONE
INGREDIENTS White flour 320 gr. Raisins 100 gr. Butter 60 gr Castor sugar 75 gr. Candied citron and orange peeis 60 gr. Yeast 21 gr. Honey 21 gr. Eggs 1 whole one and 4 yolks Grand Marnier, orange essence, salt butter and flour as requireed

Preparation Prepare the mixture with 80gr. of flour, 18 gr. of yeast in 30 gr of water and a pinch of salt. Let it rise covered in a warm place (8 about 25° to 28°) for an hour and a half. In the meantime , soak the candied peels and the raisins in half a glass of Grand Marnier. When it has risen, put the mixture into a mixer and add the melted butter, the remaining flour, a little at a time, the egg, the yolks and when the dough looks shiny, the sugar dissolved in a little hot water, the honey and a few drops of orange essence. Mix for a further 5 m. and add the remaining yeast. The dough has to be elastic and sticky ( if it is too firm, add a little warm water). Lastly add the raisins and the candied peels without any liquid. Grease a 10 cm. higt mould with butter and flour and add the mixture (up to half way) and let it rise until the dough goes over the edge. Bake in an oven at 250° for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 165, cover the Panettone with foil and bake for a further 50 minutes.

A CHRISTMAS SONG
ASTRO DEL CIEL •(Star of the sky - same tune as “Silent Night”) •Astro del ciel, Pargol divin, mite Agnello Redentor! •Tu che i Vati da lungi sognar, tu che angeliche voci luziar, •luce dona alle genti, pace infondi nei cuor! •luce dona alle genti, pace infondi nei cuor! •Astro del ciel, Pargol divin, mite Agnello Redentor! •Tu di stirpe regale decor, •Tu virgine, mistico fior, •luce dona alle genti, pace infondi nei cuor •luce dona alle genti, pace infondi nei cuor •Astro del ciel, Pargol divin, mite Agnello Redendor •Tu disceso a scontrare l’error, Tu sol nato a parlare d’amor.

NEW YEAR’S EVE
On New Year’s Eve we have very fun parties all over around. We dance, sing and eat a lot of food. At midnight we celebrate the new year with “spumante”(like champagne) and panettone or pandoro. At the same time we do fireworks. It’s very funny!

FILASTROCCHE DI CAPODANNO
NEW YEAR RHYMES
Filastrocca di Capodanno fammi gli auguri per tutto l’ anno: voglio un Gennaio col sole di Aprile, un Luglio fresco, un Marzo gentile, voglio un giorno senza sera, voglio un mare senza bufera, voglio un pane sempre fresco, sul cipresso il fiore del pesco, che siano amici il gatto e il cane, che diano latte le fontane. Se voglio troppo non darmi niente, dammi una faccia allegra solamente. (G.Rodari)
I botti di Capodanno fan felici tutto l’anno. Son allegri son spassosi e persino luminosi. Sono fuochi artificiali ma talvolta anche fatali Se li usi con la testa, fanno sempre una gran festa! Ormai tutti lo sanno, viva viva il Capodanno.


				
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