Five More Italian Christmas Words

Last week we discussed a few Christmas and Holiday greetings that are commonly used in Italy but as anyone who has ever been in the bel paese at “the most wonderful time of the year” will tell you, there is always more to learn.

Here are five more Italian Christmas words you will see during the holiday season.

1. Albero di Natale (Al-bear-o dee nah-TAH-leh): Christmas Tree

Even though I sometimes misspeak and say “Albergo di Natale” instead of “Albero di Natale” when referring to our new Christmas tree, this is one holiday word you’ll want to know in Italy. Interested in taking your use of this new word one step further? Then learn this Italian proverb …

“La vita è come un albero di natale, c’è sempre qualcuno che rompe le palle.”

Or rather, “Life is like a Christmas Tree. There is always someone who will bust your balls.”

Ahem. Moving on … .

2. Il Presepe (Eel prey-SE-pey): Nativity Scene

There is no way you can visit Italy in December and not come across a presepe. These Italian nativity scenes are everywhere from private homes, to public buildings to churches, shops, restaurants and bars. You can read more about the history and traditions of the presepe here.

3. Pupazzo di Neve (poo-PATS-so dee Ne-vay): Snowman

The first time I heard this word I thought they said, “più pazzo di neve,” and actually gave my crowd quite a laugh by repeating it as such. “No,” they told me. “The snowman isn’t crazy, he’s just a puppet.” Well, they can laugh if they want, but that lingual blunder left its mark and now I can never see a happy little snowman without thinking him a bit mad. You can remember the word however you want, but my way is kinda fun … brings a smile to me, at least.

4. Babbo Natale (BAHB-boh nah-TAH-leh): Santa Claus

To remember this one, just think of “Father Christmas” … “Babbo,” also the word sometimes used for “dad” or “daddy,” or rather “Father,” and “Natale,” for “Christmas.” And really, who wants to risk not knowing Babbo Natale’s name this Christmas Eve?

5. La Vigilia (Laa vee-GHEE-lee-uh): Christmas Eve

Speaking of Christmas Eve, La Vigilia is one of the most important nights of the holiday season. Families gather for their seafood cenone and oftentimes go out for Midnight Mass together.

I’ll be taking off the next week to enjoy my first Calabrian Christmas … so from my Calabrian-Texan family to yours … Buone Feste, Ya’ll!

Are you heading to Calabria or southern Italy? Click here to see how I can help you with your itinerary.

Photo: Scuola Leonardo

1 Response
  1. Imani

    Cherrie e Peppe e bambino,

    Buon Anno e tante belle cose per 2011!

    Cari saluti da parte di Imani e Alby. A presto! 🙂

    Grazie mille, you guys!

Leave a Reply