Some days ago I described the New Year’s traditions in 9 countries all over the world. I wrote about grapes, red pants, flying objects and more. I am going to continue this topic in this post as well but I am going to focus on one particular country – il Bel Paese giving you some more peculiar facts about the Italian New Year’s celebrations, customs and superstitions. So, let me start.
You might have already read in my previous post that the Italians have a tradition, according to which red pants and underwear should be worn on the New Year’s Eve. The tradition of wearing and giving red underwear dates back to the medieval times when men wore a drape in red over the groin thus protecting and keeping safe their “family jewels” 😀 from witches. Those witches were a real trouble because they rushed here and there at midnight, casting spells or having fun. 😀 And why was red chosen? Just because it’s a lucky colour and keeps negative energy away as well as it’s the colour of love. Or in other words said, if you wear red underwear (as per the Old Italian tradition) on the New Year’s Eve, you will be lucky and loved in the New Year.
There are two other traditions of driving evil spirits away. The first one is with mistletoe hung on the door. This custom is relatively new and highly appreciated. Even men are supposed to bring some mistletoe to their spouses, wives, girlfriends, etc. on the first of January. The other one is the Venetian tradition to throw old belongings from the window with the hope to get new, better ones from the next year. It also symbolizes a new start and a new beginning.
Now we are “moving to” one a little bit sexy superstition. 😉 Whom would you like to me in the first hours after midnight? Your kids, parents, spouse?! You know it better. That’s why I will tell you whom you shouldn’t meet, according the Italian tradition. Allora …. Priests and doctors, postmen and bell ringers will bring you worries and troubles in the New Year. Meeting a woman isn’t also a sign for the New Year. Then whom?! 😀 Of course, the answer is a man. And why? As men are more easy-going, relaxed and calm….. 😉
I shall end this post with one Italian tradition that is related to the culinary customs of the country. The Italians always prepare and put a plate of cotechino (a type of Italian salami) and lentils on the New Year’s table. Actually, it dates back to the old ancient Roman times, when the Romans believed that lentils were a symbol of abundance and money, while pork meat (which a cotechino is made of) is an omen of abundance. Eating pomegranate is thought to symbolize loyalty and fertility and that’s why couples and spouses should eat it together, thus strengthening their relationships and family.