Vocabulary (Review)

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Italy Series at ItalianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Italian holidays and observances. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1 Lesson 14, The Immaculate Conception
You’re most likely familiar with the Madonna, one of the most revered figures of Christianity. December 8 is officially dedicated to her, and this is the day on which Italy, like other Catholic countries, celebrates the Immaculate Conception, that is, the conception of Mary by St. Anne, the mother of Mary.
In this lesson we’ll talk about the Immaculate Conception in Italy.
Now, before we go into more detail, we’ve got a question for you- Do you know why every year, on December 8, the firefighters of Rome go to the Spanish Square?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The Immaculate Conception, or Immacolata Concezione, is celebrated to reiterate the fact that Mary is the only human being devoid of Original Sin, that is, the first sin which Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden. It is for this reason that in Italy this festival is related to the ideas of abstinence and simplicity, typical of the ancient world of the Italian peasants.
In fact, it was from the ancient country life of Italy that the most common traditions of this day were born. One of the most famous is that of lighting a bonfire. Today, you can still see this celebration in Castellamare di Stabia, near Naples. It is thought that the bonfire serves not only to warm up Mary, who is traveling to Bethlehem, but also to ward off the evil forces from the fields at the time of sowing.
Traditionally in Italy, December 8 also marks the beginning of the Christmas period; in fact, almost all families take the day as an opportunity to set up the Christmas tree and the nativity scene. Moreover it’s the day that all the Christmas markets open, and they last until January 6.
Despite the fact that the Immaculate Conception is a day dedicated to restraint, in reality there are many delicious traditional recipes that are relished by believers even though they don't have any meat. One of the best known recipes is that of pettole pugliesi, which is actually fried pizza dough that can be served as a little snack while fasting!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know why on December 8 the firefighters of Rome go to the Spanish Square?
The answer is to pay homage to the statue of the Immaculate Conception placed on the tall pillar. Without their mechanical crane, it wouldn’t be possible to offer flowers to her.
Well listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something new?
Do you celebrate the Madonna in your country?
Please leave a comment telling us at ItalianPod101.com.
See you next time!