Christmas is not as you would think in Italy. It is not the big deal it is in the United States. Surprisingly so.
Italy is the most conservative European nation when it comes to Christmas. Again, surprisingly so.
It is only in recent years that Santa Claus has entered upon the scene. Italy’s Santa is not quite the same as ours. He wears a red hat and jacket. Not fat. Skinny. Delivers gifts on January 5, the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany.
An interesting item is that Italy’s Santa Claus does not speak Italian. Makes sense. He is from the North Pole and the Italian language would be strange to him.
Santa’s name is not Santa Claus. It is Babbo Natale. Means Father Christmas.
The real Santa Claus from day one in Italy is Befana. She is uniquely Italian. Extremely popular. The children all believe in her.
Befana looks and acts like a witch, though she is not one. She is a scraggly old lady with a pointed black hat and rides a broom. No sleigh and reindeer for her.
Here again December 25 plays no part. Befana visits the children on January 5, the day before the Feast of the Epiphany. She brings candy and gifts. Leaves them in large stockings.
If a child has been bad, she will leave coal. A tradition no longer discussed in the United states. I recall my parents always warning me to be good or Santa would bring me coal. I doubt very many U.S. children today know what coal is. I know. We used to heat the house with it. I was the one who had to shovel the coal into the furnace two times a day.
Lest I forget, Befana wears a black shawl. She is covered with soot. The reason being of course that she comes down the chimney.
Christmas eve is quiet. Families do get together to eat. Southern Iitalians eat the seven fishes. Northern Italians do not. In fact, I was speaking with Anna in Novara yesterday. She did not know that seven fishes are considered an Italian tradition in the United States. My southern Italian family always followed it. The best meal of the year!
Anna has her children over for dinner tonight. She decided to serve Maine lobsters. A first. She bought them at a nearby fish market. They had been flown in from Canada. The store told her to take them home and keep them in water and salt. She purchased the lobsters on 12/22 to be cooked and eaten on 12/24.
Anna put the lobsters in water and salt in her bathtub. They all died. I assume from soap residue. She was crying. She did however refrigerate the remains and intended to cook them Christmas eve. It took me a while to make her understand that once dead, a lobster is useless for eating purposes. Unless you want to get sick.
I had dinner with Bebe last night at the Hot Tin Roof. A friend. She has worked 26 years at the Hyatt. She is the administrative assistant to the general manager. Managers come and go, Bebe remains.
Sloan was at the Hot Tin Roof for a party. She sat with us a while. First time I have ever seen Sloan dressed dressed. She looked fantastic!
Banks are whores. They have gotten away with murder in recent years. At the same time making a ton of money.
Cheap is cheap. I do business with two banks. I wanted those red Xmas envelopes they give out free to people like me who are making money gifts to persons on Christmas. Neither bank had them. Both no longer provide them. Would you believe? Cheap!
There will be no blog radio show this evening. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou will not air. It is Christmas eve. I am selfish, also. I will be with Lisa and family at the time still eating.
Enjoy your day! Enjoy your evening!