Christmas begins December 1 in Italy and the Christmas season lingers for three full weeks. Children go singing carols and reciting Christmas poems from house to house. People decorate the Christmas evergreen. In the week ahead of Christmas, the kids spruce up as shepherds, playing pipes and go from door to door singing and reciting. They are given money to buy Christmas presents for themselves. A day before the Christmas Eve, Italians celebrate with a strict feast, which is followed by a meal comprising of a light Milanese cake called 'panetoni' and chocolate. They wish each other ‘Buon Natale’ (Italian for ‘Merry Christmas’).