The year is now running out and the night of new Year's Eve – the latest of each year according to Gregorian calendar in use throughout much of the world – is upon us. But how are the last twelve months around Italy greeted? New Year and traditionshere is a brief history.
All looking for good luck
First, however, a clarification is necessary. New Year's Day does not mean the day of December 31, as many mistakenly think, but the January 1st. That is the day that begins, immediately after midnight, to the sound of cheers and with several rites good wishes, also with regard to food. Just think of the main courses: from lentils to the cotechino, give zampone all 'grapes, all ingredients that have maintained their aura of lucky charm and that for this reason continue to be great classics on the occasion of new Year's Eve dinner. On the first day of January, after the party (and in some cases even the hangover), on the tables of all Italy appear then meat (pork or lamb primarily), vegetables as chard is chicory is fruit dry. And the reason, needless to say, is always the same: according to some popular traditions, these are foods that favor a new year full of money, health and satisfactions a little in all sectors.
The New Year and its history
The story of the New Year, a holiday of pagan origin, has its roots in the era of Babylonians, which, however, usually celebrated the change from one year to the next at thespring equinox, returning the agricultural tools received on loan as a sign of good resolution for the new vintage. In 46 BC Julius Caesar he then dictated the transition to the Julian calendar and the feast, which for the ancient Romans had the purpose of celebrating the god Janus (probably the main deity of the pantheon in the archaic period) thus began to fall between 31 December and 1 January. From 1582, with the introduction of the current calendar by Pope Gregory XIII, the story then took a very specific direction, and here is the New Year as we know it.
Rituals and traditions from China to ancient Rome
The traditions linked to this festival have also endured over time: from the use of mistletoe, considered auspicious as a source of purification as well as a real elixir against sterility, ai fires of artifice, invented in China around the eighth century after Christ. Also from the ancient Celestial Empire comes the custom of wear something red to celebrate the beginning of the new year. According to Chinese tradition, in fact, red is the color that frightens Niàn, the devouring beast that, on New Year's Eve, comes out of the sea depths to feed on human flesh. But red was also considered a good omen in Rome imperial: during the celebrations for the new year, in fact, women dressed in purple, the color of courage, passion, power and fertility. Another auspicious tradition is that of leave the windows open at midnight or by throw away the old things to make room for new projects. In the past, in Italy and beyond, many decided to complete this propitiatory rite even throwing useless objects from their balcony.
Regional specialties related to the New Year
"What you do on New Year's Eve is done all year round": this is one of the most pronounced phrases during the celebrations, followed by the inevitable good intentions for the beginning of January, which however in most cases are rejected. One for all? That of getting to diet. Forgetting the scales for a moment, then, here is a short tour of New Year's regional dishes. It starts from Piedmont with the boiled and the marengo chicken, Served with shrimp and mushrooms. In the city of Naples at New Year they reign cod is capitone, also breaded. In Lombardy the panettone it is inevitable; in South Tyrol instead space a dumplings is tirtlan, large fried ravioli with a stuffing of cabbage or spinach, sometimes accompanied with a barley soup. The cotechino it is widespread at all latitudes, but it is theEmilia Romagna the true homeland, while in Puglia New Year's Eve parties rhyme with panzerotto fried, chicory, Calzone stuffed, cartellate is lamb with lampascioni. In Liguria, finally, the protagonist of the New Year's Eve dinner is the Cappon Magro, which despite its name is not a rooster, but a fish: the capon.