Columns New Year`s Customs and Traditions – Italy

New Year`s Customs and Traditions – Italy

12/14/07 15:51:33

by: Sandra Raičević Petrović

Italians, just like many other people in the world, merrily celebrate and welcome the arrival of the New Year. They also traditionally celebrate the New Year's Eve with fireworks and sparklers. While waiting for the countdown of the last seconds of the old year together with families and friends, Italian people are enjoying the celebration of the New Year's Eve, festive and bright.

Italians stick to their old New Year's Eve traditions, and one of the most specific ones is throwing old things to the streets through windows. People believe that by throwing old things out they will also banish and forget the bad luck, unhappiness and bad days, and leaving them behind, create a space for the new things and good fortune in the year that is coming through their doors. This tradition of discarding the old and unnecessary things, which may include old clothes, furniture, and various other stuff, is typical for the south of Italy.

One of the traditional gestures is firing the Christmas log on the last day of the old year. Practicing this tradition, which originates from the old, pagan days, Italians are trying to repel the evil spirits and bad thoughts, and have the revitalizing fire blaze and chase away all bad emotions, purify and warm them through the night all the way to the first day of the New Year. This ritual is tied to the legend of Virgin Mary which is entering the humble homes in the midnight hour, trying to warm her newly born child beside the log smoldering in a fireplace.

The New Year’s Eve dinner is also often prepared in a traditional way. The usual meal in this occasion is roasted pork served with lentils. The pork is a symbol of good health, while the lentils represent the good fortune and lots of money in the incoming year. In addition, sweet bread or a cake on the table symbolizes hope and prosperity. Beside these, the Italian New Year’s Eve menu often includes cotechino, a big spicy sausage, and zampone, pig legs.

Just like in other countries in the world, many Italians wait for the midnight hour on the squares and streets of the Italian cities. The toasts and wassails are held with the Italian champagne, Spumante or Prosecco. Many believe that wearing red underwear in this night brings good luck, and Italians do it gladly.

The biggest and most glamorous fireworks occurs in Naples. The whole-day New Year's events and happenings called Lo Sciuscio gather amateur musicians, and people used to give them coins and sweets in order to draw a good luck in the year that is coming. In Rome, the New Year's Eve gathering and celebration is organized at Piazza del Popolo.

There are so many various events and happenings – music events, rock, pop, classic music concerts, spectacular midnight fireworks... Venice, Bologna, Milan...all the cities are celebrating, the festive time is knocking on all doors!

People of Italy – cheers! Happy New Year!

Buon Natale!

Source:, Italian Tourist Guide

Author: Sandrina (sandrina_bambina)
Fragrantica Member







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