The Chiesa dei Servi along Strada Maggiore is home to the traditional Feast of Saint Lucia, opened every day (8am-7pm) from November 17 until December 26.
The Fair of Saint Lucia is the oldest one around Europe: the first time it happened in 1796 and, until the Napoleonic era, the Fair was celebrated along Via Castiglione, where the Church of Saint Lucia was before it got desecrated and became the Great Hall of the University of Bologna. As the effigy of the Saint was moved, so did the market.
Around Italy, children gets gifts for San Nicola’s feast, while in the Bolognese tradition that happens on December 13, when the Santa Lucia’s feast is celebrated. In the past, children used to receive candies or special food that families could not afford. For instance, a simple mandarin was considered a precious gift for kids, because citrus fruits were once a delicacy for Bolognese people. This tradition still exists and that’s why many vendors sell especially candies and Christmas delicacies.
Another important part of the tradition is selling decorations for Christmas holidays, as well as characters for the families’ presepe.
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