Buon Natale, from The Frangipani Family
Christmas Eve…. Started out the day just Thomas & I going for coffee & bagels…. From there, oh my my the mad dash was on! Thomas went to get Grandma Barb & Grandpa, Amber & Brandon.. I had to run some errands- quickly…
Before we knew it, dinner time had arrived. The menu? Italian Chicken, Roasted Garlic Potatoes, Salad, Garlic Bread, Orange Spice Tea, & Montepulciano… alla salute!!! We got to use the Beautiful Bowl & plate that my Momma Betty gave us for our first Christmas, so exciting!!! And of course Great conversation & pictures. The Kids were laughing & being silly, Grandma & Grandpa having a ball, Thomas & I — relishing in our Blessing Tonight.. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Then it was time to bake the cookies for Santa!!! We were able to use our gift from Grandma Barb & Grandpa, Letter to Santa Serving Set… Milk in the glass, cookies on the plate & the kids left their note to Santa in the gingerbread note holder… What a thoughtful gift!! 🙂
We all then went to our bedroom piled up on the bed & 2 chairs ( Yep, I said ALL of us LOL) .. With coffee, hot chocolate, Cannoli’s ( hey theres nothing better, boy were they great!) and The Nativity Story DVD.. What a sweet time with our family coming together..
Oh but wait, I was able to sneak a picture of Grandpa kissing Grandma Barb under the Mistletoe, guess he’s still got it 😉
Then it was off to bed for a huge slumber party!! Grandma Barb in Amber’s room, Grandpa in Brandon’s room. Then the most precious time of saying our prayers together…
So it’s time to say Good Night…Buona Notte
—– Mia Bella Angelica ( audra)
The Three Christmas Feasts
Most families in Italy begin celebrating il Natale on the evening of December 24 (la vigilia di Natale) with a big dinner. Because Christmas Eve is a vigilia di magro (a day of abstinence on which the Catholic Church prohibits the consumption of meat), the centerpiece of the meal is fish.
The traditional choice is eel, a favorite of the ancient Romans that appears in the earliest known cookbook, written by a gourmand known as Apicius. This symbol of life and immortality was sold alive and wiggling, then beheaded, chopped and dropped into boiling water, spit-roasted, grilled, stewed with white wine and peas, or pickled in vinegar, oil, bay leaves, rosemary and cloves.
In some regions the Christmas Eve feast has seven courses (for the seven sacraments); others serve nine (the trinity times three) or thirteen (for Jesus and his twelve disciples). Some of the fish dishes include fritto misto with lemon (mixed fried fish), calamari, or pasta with anchovies.
Families may go to midnight mass (la messa di mezzanotte) in their local church or watch the Pope’s televised outdoor mass at St. Peter’s basilica in Rome. At midday on Christmas the Pope again appears on television to deliver his annual “urbi et orbi” message to “the city and the world.”
Il pranzo di Natale (the Christmas day meal) usually starts with a rich pasta, such as cappelletti in brodo, little hats stuffed with chopped meats, cheese, eggs, or pumpkin. By tradition everyone is supposed to eat at least a dozen. Depending on the region of Italy, the main course may be capon, pork or turkey.
Everyone saves room for the special dolci (sweets). Many were created by nuns who prepared special types of sweets as gifts for prominent clergymen and noble families. They include:
*cartellate — curly ribbons of dough that symbolize the sheets on which baby Jesus lay
*calzoncelli—the pillows for his head
*latte di mandorla—Virgin’s milk
*calzone di San Leonardo— trousers of St. Leonard, which represent the cradle.
Among the various types of holiday bread (pane) are pangiallo (a round bread crammed with fruits and nuts–an ancient symbol of fertility), panforte (a fruitcake-like specialty of Siena), and panpepato (peppery and dark, somewhat like gingerbread).
The most famous is the tall cupola-shaped panettone, with origins that date back to ancient Rome. The term derives from panetto (loaf of bread) combined with “one” (a suffix meaning large and pronounced “oh-nay”), although some claim its name comes from the Milanese expression “pan di ton” (luxury bread).
After the meal, families play a game called tombola, similar to bingo, with dried beans as markers. Players win coins or small prizes for covering two numbers (ambo), three (terno), five (cinquina), or the entire card (tombola). In towns and cities many Italians have started a new Christmas day tradition: going to the movies.
December 26 brings Prima Festa (first feast) and another big family meal to honor Santo Stefano (St. Stephen), the first Christian martyr, who was stoned to death for his beliefs. This day gave rise to an idiomatic expression–da Natale a San Stefano (from Christmas to St. Stephen’s Day)—to describe a very brief period of time.
Words and Expressions
Buone Feste — Happy Celebrations/Holidays
Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo — Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
un Natale pieno di amore, pace e felicità — a Christmas filled with love, peace and happiness
i più cari auguri per un sereno Natale e per un anno nuovo ricco di soddisfazioni — dearest wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a fulfilling new year
I migliori auguri per il Santo Natale e per il 2012 — best wishes for Holy Christmas and for 2012