Happy New Year in Italian

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Everything you need to know about happy new year in Italy.

On the 31NS from December, the whole world celebrates the last night of the year, also known in Italy as “Notte di San Silvestro”. This is the most anticipated night of the year with good resolutions, dinner with family and friends, and the celebration of the new morning.

In Italy, this night is full of traditions and rituals, which mainly consist of Eating, playing cards and spending time with loved ones. Let’s explore the history and activities of this special day deeply connected to Italian culture.

The name of this night is dedicated New Years Eve I, a saint who was Pope during the Roman Empire of Constantine and played an important role in the revision of the calendar and days of the week. He died on December 31stNS, in the year 335, which at that time was not yet recognized as the last day of the year.

Actually, until the 18th century, each region in Italy celebrated the New Year on a different date: in Venice on March 1stNS; in Tuscany on March 25thNS; in the south and the islands on September 1stNS. It was later decided to coincide with the date of Jesus’ circumcision, and since the Jews were subjected to this rite eight days after birth, it was set for January 1stNS. However, on this special day, the rituals and traditions are not necessarily associated with religious origins.

In Italy, eating and socializing with family and friends are the focus of this special night. The dinner that is organized for the last night of the year is called “Cenone di Capodanno” and consists of traditional Italian dishes designed to wish good luck and prosperity for the coming year. Here’s what most Italians traditionally eat on New Years Eve.

The typical Roman cuisine ranges from the classic Italian starter platters to the timeless spaghetti with clams or the typical tagliatelle with rag. The second courses often include baked fish, cotechino (an Italian pork dish), breaded ribs, vegetable side dishes and the classic fried dishes such as fried cod, Roman broccoli, zucchini flowers and much more. The traditional desserts include gingerbread, pangiallo (a Roman cake), the popular ice cream, and other sweets, from chocolates to sweets.

There are also foods that are only eaten out of superstition, as it is believed to bring abundance and a good omen for the New Year. In fact, there can be no “Cenone di Capodanno“Without the presence of lentils on the table, which many traditionally prefer after midnight toast, with or without cotechino or zampone.

Cotechino e lenticchie

The lenses are considered money carriers because they resemble many small coins as well as gold. A famous Italian proverb is “Chi mangia lenticchie a Capodanno conta quattrini per tutto l’anno”, which translates as “If you eat lentils on New Year’s Eve, you count money all year round”.

The food isn’t over until the end of the party as the Italians keep snacking panettone, pandoro, Torrone or dried fruit while you sit at the table with family and friends and play classic Italian card games.

The most famous game is tombola, a board game that consists of the random drawing of numbers from 1 to 90, which participants gradually mark in their ownership folder, on which 15 numbers are arranged in 3 rows until they get different combinations or fill the entire folder. Other popular games are Mercante in Fiera, Sette e mezzo, Salta Cavallo or Scopa.

There are a few other Italian traditions that characterize this special night. A custom that is no longer practiced for obvious safety reasons was to throw old objects out of the window to leave the past behind and open up to a better future. Another custom is to wear red underwear, a tradition that goes back to Roman times, because red has always been a symbol of strength and a bearer of good wishes.

After all, Italians celebrate the New Year with one Kiss under the mistletoe given to their partners, and then all family and friends cheer while they join Glass of Prosecco. They all shout together what would sound like “Happy New Year!” In English, but “Buon Anno!” In Italian.

At this time of night, the sky is filled with fireworks, which have the purpose of lighting up the dark night and driving away evil spirits and demons. The light is shining on the New Year as many people begin to put their New Year resolutions into action to improve themselves and enjoy a fresh start. New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and for those preparing to celebrate the New Year, it is already time to start thinking about what to bring to the table.


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