A slight delay has made this Christmas post into a Christmas and new years post, partly due to travelling which means I was away from Naples for actual Christmas and new years anyway… but ah well, here it goes. A few things on Christmas in Naples:
Typically decorations go up from December 8th, and in Naples this is a public holiday (see my previous post to see how I spent this festive day). There are lights everywhere (I love Christmas lights!) so my beautiful scenic view became covered in bright multi-colours. I have also seen a giant inflatable snowman waving at a busy street below from a balcony and a large Christmas tree in the centre made up of flat, lit up reindeer. You kind of have to see it… but again. It’s Christmassy and lights up, what’s not to like?
An unpopular new addition to the Naples Christmas scene is a giant Christmas tree near the seafront. I appreciate the effort of Christmas cheer, however was very disappointed to find that climbing costs money (I think, this is testing my reading in Italian abilities). It also blasts out pop music and has advertisements lit up surrounding the base… I am usually one for standing up for all kinds of Christmas decorations (especially the cheesy ones), however this one I did find a tad difficult to defend. Not that I didn’t try.
Now for food; not necessarily turkey and no mince pies. While my return to England will save me from such a fate on Christmas day, I am missing the traditional Christmas foods in the December run-up. Fish on Christmas Eve is apparently quite traditional, but so also is the possibility of lasagna on Christmas day? A lovely meal, but I need my Christmas day to include roast potatoes and gravy.
The traditional Christmas cake (Panettone) is a favourite of mine (I find a lot of the desserts and pastries in Naples too sweet) and is eaten just at Christmas. It’s a large, pyramid-like cake (sweet bread) with raisins (or without, which I prefer, is Pandoro) and dusted with icing sugar. I have seen a man on a moped with what looked like a dozen of these giant cakes dangling from him while he negotiated the city’s traffic. That is dedication to a Christmas dinner. I have also heard that this cake is incredibly cheap in January as the shops need to sell off all their stock, I am looking forward to finding out if this is true.
There has been streetlights, parades, choirs, musicians, carols, santas, sleighs, horses and more. Essentially whatever you can picture such a passionate and food-loving city doing to celebrate Christmas, it will be happening in Naples.
So far in January the new year is freezing, and if I was not too busy shivering I would be laughing at the put-out look on everyone’s faces. Never have you seen so many people disgruntled by the weather. I was disconcerted on my way to the supermarket by a mass of wool which turned out to have a person somewhere beneath it, shown only by a scowl. I can see why, however, given that currently it is colder than the England I have just returned from, and beautiful old stone and tiled-floor buildings are not the best in such weather. For now a mug of coffee from my contraband cafetiere and shivering over some Italian practice with Hercules on in Italian, thank you Netflix, sounds good.