Vatican City

Traditions and customs of Vatican City

What traditions and customs are there in Vatican City?

A brief review of the traditions and customs that inhabit the papal country, Vatican City.

Food and economy

Food in daily life

The most important style of food is that of Rome. Like other Italians, Vatican residents consider their cuisine to be the best in the world. Pope John Paul II caused a furore when he requested Polish cuisine from the papal chef.

Food customs on ceremonial occasions

On New Year’s Eve, the Italian tradition is to eat all seven fish, including eels, conches, and squid. Lamb is a traditional Easter dish. For each of these meals, there is always a pasta dish.


The Vatican insists on modest and appropriate dress in its holy places. Silence is required in sacred areas, and deference to clergy is expected. There is a strict adherence to speaking only when directed and deferring to senior officials.


Religious beliefs

The Vatican is a Catholic state whose population is virtually 100 percent Roman Catholic. There is a belief in heaven and hell and only rewards or punishments for one’s actions on earth. There is a belief in a supreme triune God, and various saints are honored. The final judgment and the resurrection of the dead are principles of faith.

Religious practitioners

The Catholic clergy are the main religious practitioner and can administer all seven sacraments, depending on their rank. Bishops can ordain other priests.

Rituals and Holy Places

The Vatican is a treasure trove of special buildings and sanctuaries. San Pedro is the site of Peter’s tomb and is built on the original basilica. The Sistine Chapel of the church features the ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The Lateral Palace, once home to the popes, is another magnificent building.

Saint Peter’s Square is known throughout the world, and the Pope often addresses the world from the square. It is also the site of many of his public masses. The religious calendar of the Catholic Church is followed, along with the rituals of that calendar.

Death and the afterlife

The beliefs of the Catholic Church in life after death, the existence of purgatory and the efficacy of prayers for the dead are followed.

Secular celebrations

There are no secular holidays. The main religious festivals are Christmas and Easter, and there are other major festivals and festivals of saints.

Arts and Humanities

The Church has a long history of supporting the arts. The Vatican is, among other things, a museum. Its library is an important source of knowledge about the Renaissance and European history.

The state of the physical and social sciences

The Vatican is more interested in the social sciences than the physical sciences. He is not opposed to the physical sciences and has stated his general support for the physical sciences and their compatibility with religion. Within the Vatican, there has been a more immediate application of the social sciences, particularly sociology, psychology, and political science.

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