Did you know that in Italy they eat lentils on New Year’s Eve? But why? Let’s discover together the traditions of New Year’s Eve in Italy!
Traditions for New Year 's Eve in Italy
Eating lentils brings money
Eating lentils (it. le lenticchie) at midnight on New Year’s Eve is really a must in Italy. But why eat lentils?
Because lentils mean… money! The best thing to do is to eat a lot of lentils so that you get a lot of money in the new year. Well, whether that actually happens, no one knows…. But to be on the safe side, eat lentils. You never know.
Besides, lentils are naturally resistant legumes and that’s why they are a symbol of long life for some: Being highly nutritious, they protect the body even in unfortunate times.
As we said, eat lentils! In any case, it does not hurt.
Cotechino e lenticchie
What is the best way to eat lentils? Traditionally, lentils are eaten in Italy on New Year’s Eve with cotechino, a pork sausage. But you can also serve lentils in different ways, as a soup, as a lentil salad, with pasta or fish.
Wear red underwear
Another must in Italy is to wear red underwear (it. l’intimo rosso) on New Year’s Eve. Men too, of course!
But why? According to some, the origin of this custom could go back to the time of the Roman Empire, when both men and women wore something red for the Roman New Year, as a good omen of health, power and fertility.
According to others, the custom of wearing red on New Year’s Eve comes instead from China, from Chinese symbolism that identifies red as the color of good luck: it is often used for decorations and also for weddings.
But no matter where this custom comes from, on New Year’s Eve you should wear red underwear!
As in many countries of the world, on New Year’s Eve in Italy at midnight you can admire the fireworks (it. i fuochi d’artificio) in the cities and towns.
In addition, many people like to explode firecrackers (it. i petardi / i botti) or sparklers (it. le stelline). By the way, in Italy adults are allowed to buy firecrackers all year round.
More traditions for New Year's Eve in Italy
Breaking old porcelain is especially common in Naples. On New Year’s Eve, plates, glasses and porcelain objects are thrown on the ground or out of the windows onto the street (be careful!). This symbolic gesture is used to chase away the physical and moral evils that have accumulated during the year that is ending.
Kissing under the mistletoe is also part of New Year’s Eve, of course. It is a good luck charm and means eternal love.
Do you know the legend of the goddess Freya? You can read the legend in our Advent Calendar for December 16.