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Italy New Year’s Traditions

Il Capodanno – Celebrate Italy New Year’s Traditions

Italy’s culture includes many festivals. As you might imagine, Italy New Year’s traditions begin on New Year’s Eve. After a full night of dancing, food, family and fun, Italians traditionally wake up late on New Year’s Day and head out for a passeggiata.

Italy New Year’s Eve Tradition – La Festa di San Silvestro

La Festa di San Silvestro is a festival that includes the famous Italian family, of course delicious food, and tradition.

La Festa di San Silvestro is celebrated December 31 on New Year’s Eve. Families and friends get together for a huge feast. The menu highlight is lentils, symbolizing money and good fortune for the coming year. Traditionally, the dinner in many parts of Italy also includes a cotechino, a large spiced sausage, or a zampone, stuffed pig’s trotter. The pork symbolizes the richness of life in the coming year.

News Years Fireworks and Dancing

Huge midnight fireworks displays celebrate the coming of the new year. Most towns have public displays in a central square but private parties will also include firecrackers or sparklers, too, and will continue for a long time. Naples is known for having one of the best and biggest New Year’s fireworks displays in Italy. Some smaller towns build a bonfire in the central square where villagers will congregate into the early morning. If you’re near the coast, lake, or river you will hear boats and ships blowing their horns.

Dancing is also popular and many towns have public music and dancing before the fireworks. Rome, Milan, Bologna, Palermo and Naples put on huge popular outdoor shows with pop and rock bands. These events can sometimes be seen on television, too. The New Year is also celebrated with spumante or prosecco, Italian sparkling wine.

New Years parties, whether public or private, will often last until sunrise in order to watch the first sunrise of the newborn year.

Throwing out last year to make room for the New Year

Southern Italians like to launch their New Year’s celebrations by throwing old pots, pans, clothes, appliances, even furniture out the window. This tradition symbolizes “letting go” of past unhappiness to prepare yourself for the future. In the eastern religions this would be the same as clearing out the past to make room to receive new fortune. Although most Italians have abandoned the tradition, do watch your head on the streets of Naples on New Year’s Eve!

Red Underwear!

Oh, one more thing, don’t forget to wear your red underwear to ring in the new year! The Italian New Year’s tradition goes that it’ll bring you luck in the coming new year.

New Year’s Day Traditions

As the streets file up on New Year’s Day once again food and music are the center of the annual tradition.  Fava beans are eaten all day. The Italians follow this tradition to bring good fortune and prosperity. The piazzas are typically full of people with outdoor festivals and music filling the air.

As January continues the festive Italian holiday season winds down with the Feast of the Epiphany celebrated on January 6.

Happy New Year from all of us at

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