December 31st marks La Festa di San Silvestro, followed by Il Capodanno the next day, and Italians have many ways to commemorate the New Year! Read on to learn about some of the most common ones:
Food. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Italian celebration without food! On New Year’s Eve, Italians tend to eat a big dinner, and many foods make an appearance due to their symbolic value. Lentils are popular as they symbolize financial luck for the upcoming year, pork cotechino (a type of sausage) or stuffed pig trotters symbolize general good fortune, and grapes symbolize good luck. Some people eat dried fruit as a snack, and around midnight a popular regional cuisine is served along with Italian sparkling wines, either spumante or prosecco.
Activities. You won’t be bored on New Year’s Eve if you’re celebrating it Italian-style! A popular game played is Tombola, which is similar to bingo. There’s also public dancing and music and outdoor concerts to be found, and when midnight finally arrives, people enjoy plenty of fireworks. Some small towns also have bonfires. You better not get tired too early because parties can last until sunrise, as Italians enjoy staying up to see the first sunrise of the New Year. If you want to channel your inner Southern Italian, you can also throw all of your old stuff out the window, which represents your acceptance of the New Year!
And of course, don’t forget to wear something red for good luck (usually underwear)! Have a Happy New Year and tell us, do you take part in any Italian New Year’s Eve traditions?