The most beautiful festivities
The Christmas holidays are the most beautiful of the year: lights, colours, traditions, music and (let’s say) a little bite to eat, enliven the period. Christmas in Vico Equense is rich in all of these, and holidaying there at this time of year is an experience not to be forgotten. The complete programme of events sets out all the things you can do and see in the period, but here we try to highlight the most significant of them.
The nativity scenes and the “pacchianelle”
Christmas is one of the most important festivals of the Christian tradition, the beginning of a new era that inspires new hope in the world. The representations of the Nativity in paintings of the Renaissance often set the scene among the ruins of classical antiquities, precisely because it is the advent of a new era that is born from the ruins of the old. This iconographic tradition is found in the Nativity scene, which has reached the status of an art form in Naples and Campania, and obviously Vico’s Christmas is also rich in nativity scenes. On December 7th the traditional Nativity scene will be inaugurated at the Chiesa dell’Annunziata (Church of the Annunciation), which can be visited until the day after Epiphany. But other cribs can also be viewed in the centre in Vico delle Monache and at the seniors’ centre at the Holy Trinity and Paradise Institute.
Vico’s most ancient and uniquely characteristic event is, however, the procession of the “pacchianelle”, which dates back 110 years, in which girls dressed as peasants (the “pacchianelle”), parade alongside a series of characters from the Nativity scene. A living nativity scene, traditional but highly original.
The Christmas tree
These more typically local traditions are, of course, joined by more modern customs: the tree and the lights. But in reality these are also very ancient traditions, originating even before Christianity. The Nativity, in fact, coincides with the winter solstice, the moment when the sun is weakest and illuminates the earth for the least time. Starting from the day of the winter solstice, the sun begins to rise (another “nativity”), and foretells the rebirth of nature. Since the most ancient times, when men tried to prevent the final disappearance of the sun, this period was dedicated to aiding the sun, by lighting their houses and building fires that would give strength. They also valued anything that could withstand the death brought by winter, so evergreen trees and plants were put on display and perhaps decorated. Thus we have the use of firs, evergreens, and holly, which remind us that cold and death can be resisted. And thus we have Christmas trees, which form a beautiful display both in the centre of Vico and in Seiano, illuminating the hopes of all.
Next, music, both in the traditional forms typical of the area, and in its more innovative forms. There are many offerings: among the most interesting are: Peppe Barra, who narrates the Nativity in music on 12th December at the Church of the Annunciation; the Christmas concert on the 25th at the Church of Saints Cyrus and John, with classical music; New Year’s Eve in the piazza with Luna Nova Band – DJ Max Zotti; Emsi Gallo at midnight on the 31st; and the New Year’s Day Concert, with the SCS International Symphony Orchestra, and the music of Viennese waltzes.
At the table
Something to eat? The offerings are many, with events, markets, and street food. But to finish off the year in great style, and to begin a magnificent 2019, dinner at the restaurant of the Hotel Angiolieri is a must.