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Italy Important Customs and Cultural Factors in Italy
National and Local Festivals Ninety percent of the population is Roman Catholic. The other 2 percent is mainly comprised of Jews, along with some Muslims and Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholics. The general supernatural beliefs are those of the Catholic Church as mixed with some older beliefs stretching back to antiquity. In Sicily, for example, Arabic and Greek influences have mixed with popular Spanish beliefs and been incorporated into Catholicism. The majority of religious festivals are Roman Catholic, dedicated to the Madonna or to different saints.
Epiphany, January 6 is the end of Italy's Christmas season and the day when children traditionally get presents or sweets from a witch called “la Befana”. In Vatican City, a procession of hundreds of people in medieval costumes walk to the Vatican, carrying symbolic gifts for the Pope who says a morning mass in Saint Peter's Basilica to commemorate the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for Jesus.
Easter Sunday, date varies from late March through April. Easter Sunday is celebrated with a mass, the biggest and most popular being the Easter mass said by the Pope in Saint Peter's. During Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter, there are many processions and special events throughout Italy.
Easter Monday, the day after Easter Sunday. La Pasquetta, or the little Easter, is a national holiday that's celebrated on the day after Easter. On this day Italians traditionally head to the countryside for a picnic.
Liberation Day, April 25, Festa della Liberazione commemorating the end of WWII in Italy, is a national holiday marked by ceremonies, historic re-enactments, and celebrations.
Republic Day, June 2, commemorates the birth of the Italian Republic. In Rome there's usually a big parade presided over by Italy's president and military bands play music in the gardens of the Quirinale, open to the public.
Ferragosto Assumption Day or Ferragosto, August 15, is the traditional start of Italy's vacation period. Many Italians head to the beach for Ferragosto, so the coast (and coastal roads) are usually very crowded.
S. Agatha Catania's most stirring religious feast is dedicated to the city's holy patron, the young martyr Agatha. From 3 to 5 February the city is transformed and becomes a theatre rich in decorations, lights, votive fireworks, sounds and colours.
To celebrate the "homecoming" of the Sant'Agatha's relics from Costantinople on August 17 th- 1126, will be hold a High Mass and a procession with the precious bust of Saint'Agata, containing part of holy body covered by numerous jewels as "ex voto" donated by the devout citizens.
Italian Family Values The family remains of central importance in the fabric of Italian society and provides a stabilizing influence for its members. In the North, generally only the nuclear family lives together. While in the south, the extended family often resides together in one house and the young people tend to stay at home until they marry, a situation partly exacerbated by the lack of work and affordable housing.
Greetings in Italy When meeting people for the first time it is appropriate to wait to be introduced. You will generally be introduced to the oldest person first followed by the women. When being introduced to someone in a formal situation, it’s common to say ‘pleased to meet you’ ( molto lieto). Upon introductions and departures, shake hands with everyone individually in a group. It is polite while doing this to say "buon giorno" [in the morning] and "buona sera" [in the late afternoon and evening] and "arrivederci" upon leaving (friends say ciao).
When you know your Italian colleague well, it would be considered friendly to return a warm embrace. Buongiorno becomes buonasera any time after the lunch break (around 1 pm). Good night ( buonanotte) is used when going to bed or leaving a house in the evening. Italian families and friends usually kiss when they meet, irrespective of their sex. If a lady expects you to kiss her, she offers her cheek.
Dress code in Italy translate in way they dress. Italians are very fashionconscious and are very respectful of traditions and customs, which the Italians adopt the way they dress to the day, moment of the occasion and the place they are visiting. Showing respect means that you dress up according to the level of the place or
The same goes when you are invited at a dinner at a friend’s home. Of course, it all depends on the type of dinner you are invited and the level of intimacy you have with your friend.
Body Language Italians are emotionally demonstrative, so you can see lots of cheek kissing among acquaintances, embraces between men who are good friends and lingering handshakes. Italian men may walk arm-in-arm, as may women. Pushing and shoving in busy places is not considered rude.
People everywhere seem to be mumbling to themselves while gesticulating wildly. They punctuates their conversation with hand gestures. Hand signals are a language onto themselves; for instance, in sports, referees, players, and managers all have their own nonverbal way of talking to each other, whether it's signaling a penalty in soccer, motioning to a teammate, or repositioning a player. There are even organizations such as the Center For Nonverbal Studies that apply scientific study to nonverbal communication, which includes body movements, gestures, and facial expressions.
Our region Sicily is the biggest island in the Mediterranean and it’s also the biggest region of Italy. In Sicily there a lot of interesting archeological sites and monuments, of the Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, Spanish and Bourbon periods. These different civilizations have contributed to Sicily’s beauty and historic importance in the Mediterranean world. In fact, Sicily is an important tourist destination, thanks to its historic cities and villages, its beautiful coastline, mountains, in particular Mt. Etna, the highest volcano in Europe (3343 m. ).
Typical Sicilian food and dishes We are also known abroad for our agricoltural products such as citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, etc…), pistachio nuts, almonds, wines and cheeses. Sicilian cooking is varied, popular and original. Our typical dishes are: “arancini”, made from bread-crumb covered rice balls and stuffing with ingredients, such as mozzarella cheese, meat, “ragù”(a type of tomato sauce), mushrooms, peas, or a combination of any of the above.
Another original dish is “pasta alla norma”, named after the Sicilian composer Vincenzo Bellini's famous opera “Norma”. It was cooked for the first time in 19 th century, to honer him and his masterpiece. Sicilian pastry is also varied, colorful and famous, such as: “cannoli”. ( stuffing of ricotta or chocolate), “cassata”, almond sweets, etc…