Overview Of The Main Features Of Italian Culture: Online Essay Help

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My culture informant was born in in Italy and raised by her parents. She moved to the United States at the age of 10 but still visits Italy every chance her family can. She is now in her third year of college and still talks to friends and family that live in Italy. She tells me how Italians are known for their expressive, liveliness, and how sociable they are.

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Italians have a motto that family is an extremely important, their family harmony is focused on extended family rather than the nuclear family. Italians have frequent family gatherings and enjoy spending time with those in their family. Children are reared to remain close to the family upon adulthood and incorporate their future family into the larger network. They celebrate most Christian holidays for example, the celebration of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6, is much like Christmas. Belfana, an old lady who flies on her broomstick, delivers presents and goodies to good children, according to legend. Pasquetta, on the Monday after Easter, typically involves family picnics to mark the beginning of springtime. November 1 commemorates Saints Day, a religious holiday during which Italians typically decorate the graves of deceased relatives with flowers. Many Italian towns and villages celebrate the feast day of their patron saint. September 19, for example, is the feast of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Napoli. April 25 is the Liberation Day, marking the 1945 liberation ending World War II in Italy in 1945. Italians like to be surrounded by the ones they love and keep the traditions going to the future generations. The “culture” of Italy is a beautiful and unique one. One distinct difference between foreign and Italian culture is the way Italians will greet each other. The most common way to greet someone and see them off is with a light kiss on each cheek. This practice will usually seem strange to a foreigner and Italians expect this and most Italians will usually stick to the typical handshake to make the outsider feel more comfortable. Another aspect of this culture that may seem strange to foreigners is the way Italians dress. A foreigner will be the obvious stand out if they have not dressed in the same, up to date fashion as the rest of the culture. Italians of all ages typically dress in the same way, following the newest trends and fashion codes. The only real clothing restrictions come when you are entering a church or sometimes even a museum, there will typically be written rules for proper attire.

Italians believe that their food is important in their culture for instance, dishes like pizza and staples like spaghetti have become well known throughout the world but the table etiquette adopted by the Italian culture is vastly different to the trendy practices nowadays. It is in their culture that Italians always try to cook their meals to perfection then have the family gather around a dining table and eat heartily. This time of the day is special for them because they talk about what might have happened or any possible issues they might have had during the day at work, school or relationships. They discuss and help by providing solutions or simply listen and give emotional support. Family comes first to them meaning they will do anything to make sure they know you have their support and love. Through this whole interview with my informant it made me realize how many cultures are similar in the aspect that family comes first. She explained that in her culture the excitement begins at dawn and continues into the small hours of the night. That it is filled with noisy, elated, happy, energetic, busy people swarming streets, piazzas, and marketplaces. She stated that there are carts, shop windows, and stalls flaunt vegetables, flowers, fruits, toys, clothes, shoes, and fishes in the colorful confusion and disarray pouring from their abundance of goods, everything displayed everywhere in dramatic and artistic disorder. Owners strategically place café tables so leisurely that customers can observe the busy people. The noises are usually deafening. People chat, sing, swear, whistle, shout, cry, howl. . . some during intense discussions; others immersed in delicate negotiations. One can always hear someone playing a musical instrument or singing a popular song. My culture informant stated that the school system has evolved over time explaining that essential school lasts from the ages of 6 to 16, is tax extended, meaning that there is no need to pay a registration fee. At the age of 16 to 18, a minimal registration fee of about 20 euro must be paid. She said that her friends that were not born in Italy receive free public education, even after the end of compulsory school. Class sizes generally run about twenty-five children per class with a minimum of ten students. Mixed-level classes have between six and twelve students. Now that she has friends in third level education in Italy there is many public universities. Many public universities are prestigious. In public universities, fees are usually divided in a fixed tax to be paid to the State and tuition fees due to the university. The latter are usually calculated based on the student’s (or his/her family, if dependent) income. Public universities fees are, however, usually never superior to 2500 euro per annum (around 2800 USD). Private universities may charge more, but never as much as an American University!

The Italian culture is so interesting and so different than many other cultures I have studies before. I am so thankful that my informant was able to give me as much information about her culture as she could. This culture seems so vibrant and exciting to be apart. It makes me want to go visit Italy for myself and take part in this culture and see it for myself what it really is like. How similar it is to my culture background or how unique it may be. I want to be able to use everything I have learned and make connections when visiting.

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