photo courtesy www.dreamstime.com
We did it! We made it through the whole month! Can you believe it's already Christmas Eve?
I can't. I have no idea where the time went.
Day 24 (ventiquattro)! Vigilia di Natale! Christmas Eve. It's here!
In Italy, this is a BIG day! Fish markets are a madhouse in the morning, selling every variety of fish imaginable on this last opportunity to buy before the three big feast days. The fish mongers have been busy every day, they will need the time off over the holidays. I'm writing this at 10:50 pm Venice time, the Cenone della Vigilia has ended, and now, families are getting ready to go attend midnight mass at their local church.
Here in Venice, going to midnight mass at St. Mark's Basilica is a popular Christmas tradition. People queue up in the cold about 45 minutes early, in order to be able to get a seat in the packed Basilica. St. Mark's, one of the most important churches in the city, was completed in 832 and consecrated in 1085 after the city obtained the remains of Saint Mark which are in a tomb at the altar.
Attending midnight mass here will leave you near speechless. The insides of the Basilica are encrusted with glass tiled mosaics backed with gold leaf. On a normal day, viewing the inside is
special, on this holiday it is spectacular. When the Basilica is awash in lights the mosaicssparkle like millions of twinkling stars in the heavens.