Christmas in Naples
There is a kind of magic atmosphere in the town of Naples when Christmas is approaching and Christmas coloured twinkling lights embellish most of the shops and streets of the town. Christmas season starts on the 8th of December and traditionally finishes on the 6th of Janauary, the Epiphany Day. People enjoy going out every evening to go and see friends, to attend a concert going on into the streets or inside the churches, which are decorated by creches made by the most famous artisans. The celebrated San Gregorio Armeno street, where the nativity scene builders show their artworks, becomes so packed with visitors that it is almost impossible to walk and look at the many artisans’ shops showing and selling the miniatures needed to create a “presepio” (crib). Therefore the town council has decided to regulate the pedestrian access, which is strictly one-way. Here, little statues representing Saint Joseph, Virgin Mary, Baby Jesus and the different characters who were present when Divine Infant was born, are showed in those presepi who recreate the Nativity scene at the little village of Bethlemme. Miniatures of buildings, pizza ovens, mills, exotic fruits, gastronomic delights and many household objects are also displayed for selling. The music of the notorious “zampognari” (shepherds-players) is heard everywhere in the narrow alleys and courtyards of the city. Children laughing and playing into the streets marvel at the harmonic sound of the “zampogne“, the famous bagpipes used in Southern Italy. All the markets, where the most typical local products are sold, are now decorated with Christmas ornaments and they sell all the most traditional Christmas cakes, like the “susamielli“, the “s” shaped biscuits, the almond pastry known as “roccocò“, the “struffoli” dough balls, the chocolate covered “mostacciuoli” and other small pastries.
As Christmas is considered to be a Family celebration, everyone gets ready for the festivities when family members and friends gather together to commemorate Christmas in peace. The Advent time is often associated with religious ceremonies, but the New Year’s Eve becomes a real tribute to joy and happiness, with the most spectacular fireworks which go on, into the entire city and its surroundings, for almost two hours before and after midnight. There is no other place in the world that can compare the Christmas season in Naples.