Marco Polo’s 24 Holiday traditions from around the world – Day 23: Sicily Christmas bonfires

It’s Day 23 of our Advent Calendar and Christmas is almost here! Today we are headed to Sicily, to discover how Sicilians – and other parts of Italy – keep warm on Christmas Eve. Did you miss yesterday’s post? Check it out here!

 

SICILY CHRISTMAS BONFIRES

We have already featured one Italian Christmas tradition, but there are so many lovely traditions that we could do a whole Advent Calendar of Italian traditions alone. However, we will do just one more: the Christmas bonfires in Sicily, and other parts of Italy. For Italians Christmas is still very much a religious celebration, and the Christmas bonfires have a religious background as well. Traditionally, the bonfires would be a part of large Nativity plays, meant to keep everyone – and most importantly the baby Jesus – warm. Nowadays most villages, towns and cities have a large bonfire on the main square on the evening of Christmas Eve, kicking off the festive period.

And really, is there anything nicer than a roaring bonfire in the darkest and coldest period of the year?

CHECK OUT THE GIVEAWAY

Buy the Marco Polo Sicily Spiral Guide.

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Top 10 Things To Do On Sicily

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed on Sicily! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Sicily’s most important sights.

Sicily Marco Polo Guide

1. MONREALE
The sublime mosaics in the Duomo di Monreale are simply breathtaking – a medieval picture bible in the form of glass and coloured tiles.

2. MOUNT ETNA
The snow-covered symbol of the Island of Fire is also Europe’s largest and most active volcano. It is ideal for hikes or excursions by cable-car and Jeep.

3. AGRIGENTO
Dazzling honey-coloured Greek temples loom high up above the glittering blue water of the Strait of Sicily.

4. NOTO
Baroque born out of a catastrophe: after the devastating earthquake of 1693, the nobility funded new towns with churches, palazzi and villas. Noto is one of the most splendid examples of this.

5. TAORMINA
The Ionian Sea and the summit of Mount Etna form the backdrop for the ruins of the ancient Teatro Greco in Taormina – a breathtaking sight in Sicily’s most fashionable seaside resort.

6. SYRACUSE
One of the world’s finest archaeological museums, a magnificent cathedral, early Christian catacombs and a mysterious cavern all make Syracuse a top destination on any trip to Sicily.

7. VILLA ROMANA DEL CASALE
Every floor surface in this sumptuous late-Roman villa in Piazza Armerina is magnificently decorated with mosaics, including those showing the famous Bikini Girls.

8. SELINUNTE & MARINELLA
An unusual combination: a short distance away from the magnificent temples of Selinunte is the fishing village Marinella, one of the most charming resorts on the south coast.

9. LA CATTEDRALE
The kings of Sicily, including the powerful Frederick II – “the marvel of the world” – rest here in colossal sarcophagi made of porphyry.

10. CEFALÙ
The towers of the cathedral are set against a backdrop of the rugged mass of La Rocca, high above the picturesque seaside resort.

 

Buy the Sicily Marco Polo Spiral Guide.

Sicily Marco Polo Guide

Something to say? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.