Apart from being known to be the world’s smallest country, the Vatican city largely grabs the eye for its Christmas celebration and festive rituals. With well-lit markets, decked-up Christmas trees, soothing Christmas carols, and lively masses, Christmas is a magical 21-day affair in the Vatican city.
Every year, there’s a different Nativity scene curated by skilled artists and displayed at the center of St. Peter’s Square. The nativity scene is a display of figurines and models that represent baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, farm animals, angels, and other figures that took the stage on the occasion of the birth of Lord Jesus.
One of the most-watched Christmas masses around the world, the Christmas mass at Vatican is a one-of-a-lifetime experience.
The Christmas Eve Mass has traditionally been celebrated in St.Peter's Basilica. Most of the masses from the Pontifical liturgical calendar are celebrated at St.Peter's Basilica owing to its huge capacity.
While you need a ticket to attend most masses with the Pope, the tickets are always free of cost. However, if you are hoping to attend the Christmas Eve Mass, also known as Midnight Mass or Natale del Signore, which is a rather popular and exclusive event, you would need to reserve tickets in advance.
While it might not measure up to the real deal, you can also view the mass from the comfort of your own home with the annual broadcast from the Vatican. Or, of course, you can always watch the mass live from the big screens placed at St Peter’s Square. Arrive early to grab some good seats.
Even though it is called a Midnight Mass, the mass does not take place at midnight. The mass takes place on December 24, at 7:30 PM.
Standing on the balcony of St. Peter’s square, the Pope addresses the world on Christmas Day at midday. This papal address is called Urbi et Orbi, which translates as “to the city of Rome and to the world”. You don’t require any tickets; all you’ve got to do is be there at the square. Since 1985, access to this Papal address was extended to not just people in Vatican City but the entire world, with the address being broadcasted worldwide in multiple languages. The Papal address will take place at the Central Loggia of the Vatican Basilica at 12 PM, this year.
Called Angelus, the papal blessing is usually delivered on a Sunday that includes a short speech and a series of prayers. The Angelus is designed to commemorate the mystery of the Incarnation and pay homage to Mary’s role in salvation history. It’s usually accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell which serves as a call to prayer and to spread goodwill to everyone.
A. Most landmarks, including the Vatican museum, and Sistine chapel are closed during the Christmas time i.e. December 25-26th. However, the city is open to visitors, who wish to view the Vatican all decked up with festive decor. You can also attend the mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, if you happen to catch your hands on the tickets for the mass.
A. You can explore the beautiful country, its artsy streets, the picturesque Christmas tree and nativity scene, pretty markets and of course, experience the popular Christmas Mass from St. Peter's Square.
A. While most iconic landmarks remain shut during the Christmas season, you can explore St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter's Square during Christmas.
A. The Vatican City turns into a magical paradise during the Christmas time and observes traditions like the Christmas mass, Vatican Christmas Concert, the burning of Yule Logs, Christmas Tree and Nativity scenes, Urbi et Orbi on Christmas Day, Legend Of La Befana etc.
A. The Christmas Eve midnight mass actually commences much before midnight and starts at around 7:30 PM.
A. Yes, as long as you’ve got the tickets, you can attend the midnight mass at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican.