The Joys of Growing Up In an Italian Family

Growing up in an Italian family is one of the things I am most grateful for in my life.

Between the large family dinners, endless amounts of food at holidays, and my screaming loud relatives, I can’t imagine growing up any other way.

I have compiled a list of some of the greatest joys I have had growing up in an Italian family.

1. The close relationships

 Growing up in an Italian family has made me close with everyone.

I’m not just talking about my mom, dad, sister and brother. I mean my zias (aunts), zios (uncles), cousins, my cousin’s cousins, grandparents, etc.

All my relatives and cousins are people I would call my best friends. They are who I grew up with and spent all my free time with.

They know me better than I know myself and we are constantly calling and texting each other now that we are older and all over the place.

2. Sunday dinners

Sunday dinners (or lunches I should say) are an activity that happens in every Italian family. It’s when your family, and extended family come together to eat delicious pasta meals every Sunday of the week.

They start between noon and include a solid eight hours of eating. Sunday dinners are something that has been so important to me growing up because they are a true bonding experience with your family.

For me, Sunday dinners were a chance for me to learn more about my grandparents growing up. Every Sunday, my grandmother never failed to tell us stories about her childhood and growing up in Italy.

I learned about all of her hardships and how she moved to America to make a better life for herself and her children. I will cherish these stories, and the memories with my family for the rest of my life.

3. The holidays

Everyone loves holidays but growing up in an Italian family has made me love them even more.

There’s a stereotype that Italians are loud, and honestly it’s so true. Holidays with Italian families consist of constant laughter, smiles, joking, and a whole lot of loud talking. It seems that even when we are eating we are still screaming and laughing at one another.

The second best part about the holidays and being Italian in general is obviously the food! I always like to tell people you truly haven’t eaten a lot of food until you’ve attended a holiday at an Italians house.

It starts with the appetizers and is followed by the pasta, the meats, the side dishes, the salads, the fruit, the desserts and finally the espresso. You basically leave the table twelve hours later and feeling 100 pounds heavier, and happier.

4. The traditions

Everything my family does has a story behind it. Italian families are all about the traditions and the back stories that go with them.

One of my family’s biggest traditions is making homemade tomato sauce at the end of August. It’s a tradition that has been passed down from my grandparent’s parents and it’s a day I can never miss.

5. The love

When it comes down to it, blood is thicker than water. Your relationship with your family is something that is important and unbreakable. I am so blessed to have grown up in my large, crazy, Italian family because there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel loved.

Image: iStock

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