Italian Christmas Vocabulary to survive holidays | ELLCI

How do you say I wish you a Merry Christmas in Italian?


How do you say I wish you a Merry Christmas in Italian?

This year you are lucky (?) And you will not find yourself among thousands of people who will want to kiss you and wish you happy Christmas. But who knows, maybe it’s just all postponed for a few months. And then there are online greetings! So equip yourself to be able to respond and face the explosions of Christmas expressions and terms that you will hear in these days.

A survival Italian Christmas Vocabulary

Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo – Christmas and Happy New Year.

The most used phrase for a generic wish. It is also used in close-pack cards! To be equally generic and not compromise yourself, just say: “a te e famiglia! ” – “to you and your family!”

Albero di Natale o presepe?-  Christmas tree or Nativity scene?

What do you think? Many Italians, in addition to the sumptuous IKEA Christmas trees we are now used to, love to make the crib, the Nativity scene, fill it with figures, even of different sizes to ensure the perspective, adorning it with cascades of silver paper and cotton snow. You can also find the nativity scene in every church and it may happen that you have to kiss the statue of the baby Jesus to pay homage to tradition (this will not happen this year for obvious reasons). Someone will surely ask you, therefore: “tree or crib?”. Answer freely, no one will get hurt!

Che fai alla befana? What are you doing to the Befana?

When someone asks you this question, they don’t mean “what are you going to do to a poor lady in rags.” He intends to ask if you have any plans for this day. The Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, precisely on the Epiphany, and a typical refrain tells us that. “Epiphany takes all holidays away”. The Befana – comes at night with her shoes all broken – is an elderly and magical lady of the folkloric tradition, almost a witch, who on her broom visits all the houses to leave sweets or coal for the children, in a sock. “Did the witch bring you coal?” Children are jokingly asked to learn about their pranks. In many Italian cities, especially in the provinces, on this day it is also customary to burn a puppet with his likeness (poor Befana!) to curry favor with the year that has just begun. The roots of this festival already sink in the history of the ancient Romans.

Natale con i tuoi, pasqua con chi vuoi – Christmas with your family, Easter with whoever you want.

If you feel compelled to spend Christmas with relatives, don’t worry, a very famous saying will leave you free at least for the Easter holidays, traditionally spent in the rain – because on Easter Monday it always rains, you know – between barbecues and guitars. Hold on, courage!

 Ho vinto alla Tombola – I won the Tombola

Have you ever heard of Tombola? It is a traditional Neapolitan game born in the eighteenth century, to remedy the suspension of the lotto during the Christmas holidays. The game of the lottery was in fact forbidden by Charles Bourbon and the Church in those days, because it was considered immoral. The Neapolitans, however, have always been ingenious, have found a way to play with it even at home, giving away prizes of all kinds, and here it is. Bingo resembles Bingo, known above all overseas, and among the differences there is the possibility of winning even with the five. In short, to better integrate yourself for the Italian Christmas holidays, you should play it at least once and possibly win something.

Sembri uno zampognaro! You look like a bagpiper!

Who are the bagpipers? They are the ones who play the bagpipe, of course. And what is the bagpipe? An archaic instrument widespread in central-southern Italy. In the past tradition, the bagpipers temporarily abandoned their work as shepherds and went down to the villages in the typical clothes and cheered the streets playing Christmas motifs. Now, dressing up as a bagpiper is something very similar to an insult (it means that your clothing is a bit out of fashion), but one thing for sure, everyone loves bagpipe music!

 Oh, se non ci vediamo più auguri! – Oh, if we don’t see you again, best wishes!


A meme will explain this better.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and download the exercises to save you from this Christmas!


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