It's no surprise that a country so diverse as Italy has a rich background of traditions. For centuries they have formed the Italy we know today, so let's learn more about them.
What Italian People are Like
It is difficult to characterize Italians as it is quite an expressive and contradictory nation. Italian people are very hospitable and usually set up a big table for the guests’ arrival, even if the visit is not planned. Moreover, Italians value family and the most common Sunday leisure is to visit parents or any other relatives for dinner. Partially, this Italian custom owes to the peculiar timetable of Italian institutions: the majority of shops and malls are closed on Sunday.
It’s well known that Italian people have a fiery temperament and love to use gestures. A typical street of any Italian city is filled with locals’ emotional chatting, talking on the phone and even singing. Italian mentality is distinguished by passionately gesticulating and talking in a loud voice, which can be perceived as a quarrel. But don’t worry, it’s only a manner of communication and you’ll get accustomed to such a noise level and lively rhythm very fast.
Traditional Italian Clothing
The national Italian costume has many interpretations and, actually, every region has its own. The thing is that different Italian lands were separated from each other for a long time, and finally merged a little more than 150 years ago. However, if to generalize, the outfits are characterized by a riot of colors and a lot of decorative elements. So it's not for no reason that Italy became the motherland of the world fashion industry.
The basis of the female national costume is a pleated skirt (called “gonna”), a white embroidered shirt (camicia) and a corsage. The costume was complemented by a bright apron and a headscarf (fazzoletto). These are the main elements of a women’s Italian costume, found in all regions of the country.
As for the distinguishing features, the costumes varied by the length and color of the skirt, the presence or absence of lace details. Lace was very popular with noble Italians, and the casual clothes of ordinary girls were simple and modest.
The male national costume is much simpler than the female one. It consisted of trousers below the knee and a white shirt. The image was complemented by a short or a sleeveless jacket. The head is covered with “berrite”, a woolen hat or a Phrygian cap.
The main religion in Italy is Catholicism. And this is not surprising for the country, the capital of which is the residence of the Pope. It is noteworthy that the predominant position of Catholicism is determined by the Italian Constitution of 1984. The document New Concordat says that there is a clear division of the Catholic and non-Catholic religions in Italy.
The country boasts more than 45 thousand Catholic churches and cathedrals. As for the nation, Italians are very religious, visit churches on a regular basis and celebrate lots of church holidays.
A modern Italian wedding does not require a strict following of the canons accepted in immemorial times, but still, living in a Catholic and patriarchal country, Italians pay much attention to traditions.
Talking about generally accepted customs, Italians also marry in white dresses and tuxedos, arrange stag and hen parties, organize photo sessions for the newlyweds, cut the wedding cake and throw a bouquet at the end of the banquet.
However, Italians are very superstitious people, especially when it concerns the wedding. The wedding preparation can last several months and even years in order to keep all traditions that determine the further happiness of the spouses.
For instance, in the evening before the wedding the Italian bride necessarily wears something green, because this promises wealth in the upcoming marriage.
Meanwhile, on the wedding day brides usually wear no gold, except for the wedding ring, and grooms have a piece of iron in the pocket to ward off evil spirits and protect the family from the evil eye.
When leaving the church, guests throw rose petals, paper confetti, and rice at the newlyweds which also promises the prosperity of the future marriage.
It's curious that gifts on Italian weddings are presented not only to the couple but to the guests as well. At the end of the wedding banquet, each guest receives a bomboniere - a small gift in memory of the event. As a rule, such bombonieres contain a small present, confetti (sugared almonds), and printed ribbons. It’s important that the number of confetti is an odd number, preferably seven for good luck.
At the end of the celebration, the couple should break a vase or a glass and count the number of shards as it symbolizes the number of years during which the spouses will be happily married.