New Year’s Eve Traditions in Italy

If you’re in the bel paese for New Year’s Eve this year, there are a few things you should know about how the locals celebrate this very international holiday. In addition to various culinary traditions, there are a few other superstitions and traditions, most of which are believed will help your fate for the year to come. Why not try some out for size, because, as they say, when in Rome…

Most traditions come with the promise that a certain behavior will bring good luck throughout the year to believers. Many Italian families eat lentils on the 1st of the year, and other common foods include grapes and pomegranates. Originally a Spanish tradition, the tradition of eating 12 grapes when midnight strikes to bring good luck for the upcoming year is beginning to take hold in Italy too. The pomegranate is a symbol of loyalty and fertility (the latter of which may or may not be what you’re looking for!) and couples should feast on this ancient fruit together to symbolize their faithfulness to each other and prosperity.

The fruit’s red color might be why there is a very popular and widely-followed tradition of wearing red undergarments during New Year’s Eve celebrations. It’s supposed to bring good look for the new year, especially in the love portion of your life and the custom can also be tied to fertility. Another part of this tradition is to throw away the lingerie the day after they’ve been worn to seal the deal. If you’ve seen any underwear stores around Milano lately you’ll notice that they start featuring a lot of red in their shop windows starting in December, so it’s pretty easy to find something for your celebration!

FireworksSingletons may want to follow the tradition (probably originating in Scandinavia) of kissing a love interest under the mistletoe to start off the New Year at midnight. It’s good luck for both kissers!

This one goes along with the belief that many people share that what you do on new year’s day is a harbinger of how you will spend the rest of the year – so make sure you use your time wisely.

An older new year’s tradition in Italy is to throw out old and broken things (like plates and such), tossing them out the window! For safety reasons, however, this one is slowly fading away.

And don’t forget to start the new year right by making sure you have some money in your pockets when you leave the house on new year’s day. This will make sure luck is on your side, financially-speaking.

Another common tradition all over the world is setting off fireworks, either publicly or privately. Though now popular for the show in general, the loud booms were originally meant to fend off evil spirits!

If you happen to turn on the TV on New Year’s Eve, programs will generally count down to midnight, with dance and musical traditions from Rio de Janeiro reigning for the audiences watching.

Now that you know something about popular traditions for Capodanno in Italy, the only thing left to do is decide where you will be when the clock strikes midnight and 2015 begins! Buon anno!

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