We’ve no doubt that Italians like a good celebration: and New Year’s Eve is no exception to the rule. Another year draws to an end, and people worldwide gather to celebrate the happenings of the year past – and hope for a better year ahead. Different cultures mean different celebrations – and Italy has some quirky, fun and traditional celebrations to add to the list.
Starting off with food – there’s no celebration without way too much food in Italy. Typical dinner on New Year’s Eve kicks off with zampone (or cotechino) e lenticchie – Zampone being a pig’s hoof, and cotechino being sausage made out of the meat inside. Both symbolise abundance – represented mostly by the meat’s high fat content. Lenticchie – lentils, are thought to bring luck and prosperity in the coming year – mostly due to their nature, representing the shape of a coin. Dessert is grapes and dried fruit – which is said to bring wisdom to all those sitting at the table.
The quirkiest tradition comes after dinner. Originating from southern Italy is the tradition of throwing the past out of the window, quite literally – as pots and pans, clothes or any material thing you do not want to bring along with you in the following year are actually thrown out from upstairs windows. This tradition is said to bring luck and a better year ahead (naturally for the throwees, and not for any bystander who finds himself hit in the head by some pot or pan!)
One can expect more luck and by wearing the right undergarments – red underwear promises a happy and lucky year ahead, as it is said that these help fight off evil and bad spirits. Just remember that it has to be new underwear, and that is also has to be a gift from someone else!
Other than that, Italians like to spend the last night of the year, and the early hours of the new year celebrating with their friends and family, together with a nice glass of prosecco, usually at a concert or in the piazzas in the cities.
If you plan on spending New Year’s Eve in Italy, our tips would definitely be to try some of these traditions, to avoid driving and parking in the city center – as one can imagine how crowded and crazy it can get, and to have a good time, celebrating the past year, and anticipating a great year ahead.