Spending the last and first holidays of each year in Italy is always a good idea.
While the idea of laying on beach, sipping on a cold tropical beverage, sounds inviting, Europe can offer a different perspective and experience over the winter holidays. Europeans take these holidays very seriously; and, the events are less commercial than in the western countries. Plus, there are less tourists, great deals, and plenty to do.
Once great choice is Rome, Italy. The Christmas season in Rome begins early in December with L'Immacolata Concezione della Beata Vergine Maria ("the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary"): "…the day is marked with celebrations and processions throughout Italy and with most people off from work, it is also the day when many Italians put up Christmas trees and other holiday decorations."
Courtesy of Giuseppe Pipia
Since the majority of Italians are Catholic, the feasts and rituals of that faith dominate the celebrations. Christmas ends with La Befana ("the Feast of the Epiphany") on January 6th. originates from a fairy tale about a woman who flies on a broomstick bringing presents to children in Italy. She is believed to be searching for baby Jesus, hence why she bears gifts for children. It is said that this feast is as special for children as Christmas Day!
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