What you don’t know about Christmas in Piedmont
If in Bari they can boast of having the predecessor of Father Christmas (his name was Saint Nicholas, of Turkish origin but very devout in Calabria), even here in Piedmont, among the hills of the Langhe and the peaks of Monte Rosa, there is no shortage of truly intriguing folk tales.
Do you know who Gelindo is? He is a Piedmontese shepherd, the protagonist of popular Christmas plays in the Piedmontese language. He is a shepherd by profession, gruff in character but with a good soul. In fact, to respond to the emperor’s census, he leaves his home in Monferrato. He arrives in Bethlehem, where he is destined to meet Joseph and Mary, help them find a place to stay and be the first to visit the baby Jesus. The origin of the “Tale of Gelindo the shepherd” is to be found in the Monferrato area in the 17th century, and following its spread, this character also became part of Piedmontese idioms and proverbs, such as the saying “Gelindo ritorna” (Gelindo returns), referring to someone who tries to do something but every time retraces his steps without reaching a conclusion, because when Gelindo had to leave, he always came back because he forgot something at home or for other reasons. The Piedmontese also used to say A ven Gelindo to indicate the arrival of Christmas.
Christmas in Piedmontese communities was traditionally prepared starting with the novena, which was celebrated in the parishes on the basis of an ancient repertoire of sacred songs and lauds. There were Christmas songs such as the ‘nouvets’, which can be found in the provinces of Turin and Cuneo.
Father Christmas brings presents, we bring you lots of good food, directly to your home, not under the fireplace but on your table.
With all this food, too many pots and pans to wash? Never mind, the dishwasher takes care of it, and you have the task (and what a task) of eating good food in company!
– Until next time, With love!