Authorities in Italy are discussing whether to adopt more lenient COVID rules during Christmas celebrations, including the possibility of extending curfews and increasing the number of people meeting for lunch or toasts.
The country is divided into three distinct color zones depending on the level of transmission risk, with more than half of the region isolated in part as Italy’s death toll has topped 45,000 since the pandemic outbreak.
But despite this terrifying second wave of COVID, the time for the Christmas party is fast approaching and the government is considering ways to relax regulations to allow Italian families to enjoy special events and kill pandemic stress.
The debate sparked some controversy among politicians and virologists, who questioned whether it was worth lifting some restrictions on having fun without a vaccine.
The risk is sparking a new spike in cases after the Christmas shakes are over, as was the case during the summer when all COVID rules were practically abolished and then, after the sun and beaches and the splash of water in the sea, the country almost found itself. back to square one.
Christmas is a major celebration in many countries, but why is it such a big problem in Italy?
It’s not just party time. This is the most important celebration of the year, and not because of religious matters.
Fathers bringing Christmas gifts for the kids are just an excuse to hang out with friends and relatives and spend quality time with piles of food, Panettone and Pandoro cakes, chocolates, nougats and sparkling wine, all the while showing off their fancy clothes and playing Tombola, such. of bingo.
It’s like Thanksgiving to Americans. Christmas is a ‘sacred’ holiday which in Italy lasts three whole days. On Christmas Eve there is a big four-course dinner, on December 25 it’s Christmas lunch (another four-course meal that runs all day and turns into dinner at night) and then December 26, St. Stephen (again, another great lunch).
So this is 72 hours of non-stop eating to eat, drink, and have fun.
But the best part (or the worst part for the authorities who have to deal with the problem) comes after Christmas.
The debate over lenient COVID rules is sure to heat up: so far Italian authorities have not specifically mentioned the word ‘Capodanno’, aka New Year’s Eve. It’s even more difficult than dealing with the Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) tradition.
If Xmas is a family holiday, New Year’s Eve is a crazy wild time with friends.
Italians have a saying “Christmas with your family members; New Year’s Eve with whoever you want ”.
On December 31st, Italians do the craziest things. They throw old items out of windows, run around town, and stage small-scale DIY balcony fireworks that often leave one or two people injured.
On January 1, after the hangover is over and someone has slept for at least two hours, instead of breakfast, Italians meet for a massive lunch to feed the New Year with hope and joy.
Italians take tradition very seriously. And they are very superstitious. If you fail to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve well, it’s like bringing bad luck to yourself and right now in these difficult times of COVID, no one will dare to do it.
Partying, dancing and toasting is a must.
And that’s not the end.
Traditionally, in Italy the Christmas celebration period lasts until January 6 when people celebrate Befana (Epiphany): good and ugly witches with large warts, hunched back and crooked legs who fly on brooms to carry candy, chocolate or pocket money, and for a bad pile of charcoal (sugar). Socks hang by the fireplace and the family gathers for a final and luxurious meal.
‘Befana sweeps all celebrations’, says the Italian.
Authorities may need to establish a new flexible set of rules for the entire two-week celebration period to suit customary feasts.