Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After

Christmas is "over", at least for the day.  Here, the 12 days of Christmas really exist on the streets, at church and at the table. With the PD parlimentary elections taking place on Sunday in which 6 of the 12 Tuscan candidates are Florentines, not even one of my neighbors (other than Giovanna who works at the voting office) is planning to tear themselves away from il letargo delle feste for the mere sake of choosing the country’s new potential "government". 

Family, food and escapism is in full bloom at this time of year and nothing gets in the way of this virtual hibernation from least until after January 7th. Then the whole country goes into "shock" mode, everything goes on sale and people return to the other temporary illusion called "work".

Today, the day after Christmas, we celebrate yet another saint's feast day (St. Stephen) as a convenient national excuse to take off and recover from Christmas just to continue the feasting for another 10 days.  On Capodanno the entire peninusla enters into explosion mode, (it used to be so bad that the whole country used to throw their furniture out the window along with the fireworks on New Year's Eve) just to continue another few days of fantasy binging and recovery, while wandering in a continual coma until the ultimate orgasm of the year when the whole country crashes into its final "Epiphany".

The whole process of feast and recovery seems to be somewhat of a bipolar process here in Italy. The all-out feasts (but how many a year?) are planned and executed with more commitment and WAY-HEY-HEY more enjoyment than an American wedding. But the day(s) after are equally as contrary. Here a recovery day means sleeping late, waking up with a stomach ache and a prosecco-grappa headache. It means walking around the house all day in a comatose stupor, eating panettone for breakfast and watching the third repeat of Christmas Mass at the Vatican (or worse yet, Bambi) while picking canellini beans and Tombola cards off the floor and scraping pork and capon drippings off the 4th load of dishes.  It means drinking tonics, seltzer and bitters and eating digestives such as fennel to remedy the afflictions of the previous day's excess.  Then it's back to the table for leftovers. (I wonder if this custom has its origins in the ancient Roman culture when binging and purging in vomitoriums were practiced by the aritstocracy.) 

Christmas at the "Mazzella" house this year was a milestone...the first Christmas since I've been living in Italy that I was the hostess instead of the guest. A new home, lots of preparations including a real tree, lots of friends with more and more native Italians becoming a fixed part of my life, way less English spoken and continuously feeling more integrated. 
Buone Feste!  There's still alot more to come!

Some photos of my Christmas in Florence this year.