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The Italian Ceppo
Not all Italians associate the Ceppo with a log burning in the fireplace. For those Italians the Ceppo refers to a pyramid shaped structure made of wood. This tiered tree was believed to have started in the Tuscan region of Italy. The tiered tree would contain three to five shelves and the frame would be decorated with fringe or fancy paper. On the bottom shelf the family would display their treasured "Presepio" (crèche or Nativity scene). The remaining shelves would contain greenery, fruit, nuts and presents. The presepio would represent the gift of God, the fruit and nuts would represent the gifts of the Earth and the presents would represent the gifts of man. The top of the Ceppo would be adorned by an Angel, star or a pineapple, which represents hospitality. Some families would attach candles on the outside of each shelf and light them. This is why the Ceppo is often referred to as the "Tree of Light."
There are many varying customs throughout Italy during the Christmas season. Please take the time to share these customs by sending me an email message.
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