In Italy Christmas is usually dedicated to family, while New Year's eve is spend to have fun and celebrate with friends.
The most common tradition for New Year's Eve it's called "Veglione" that literally means "The Big Stay Awake". A Veglione is usually organized in restaurants, hotels or clubs and it's just a party where people wait for midnight to greet the New Year.
It's very common to have dinner during some Veglione with friends, girlfriend or boyfriend, or even having dinner with parents and relatives, to go afterwards to a party in a club.
In some big city there is also the tradition to celebrate the New Year in the streets, where there are public events such as concerts and famous entertainers.
The New Year tradition in Italy has some strict rules to respect, because ancient legends and superstitions say that if you want good luck you have to be sure to do certain things:
- Anywhere in the country people eat lentils with pork - the most common it's a recipe called cotechino -. Tradition says that eating lentils will bring prosperity for the next year probably because lentils look like small golden money. There's another interpretation of this symbol that says that lentils represent health and not wealth, because they are a very healthy food.
- The red color is the color of good luck, it's very common in Italy for people to wear red underwear for New Year's Eve. In the rest of the World red is traditionally the Christmas Color and in Italy too, but the curious thing is that Italians relate it with New Year too.
- "I botti": Italians have a big passion for fireworks and firecrackers, the New Year's Eve in some city can appear like a zone of war after midnight, because from almost every home comes a bunch of little explosions of many kinds of fireworks and firecrackers.
- An old tradition, totally forgotten in the present, was throwing from the window old, broken or unused objects.
In our globalized world it's normal that some traditions disappear and something new is adopted, which also counts for some of the Italian traditions for New Year's Eve. Lots of people, for example young people in groups or couples, travel abroad to spend their New Year's Eve in another European City.
In general on New Year's Eve, Italians try to have fun, forget all troubles of the past year and try to use ancient traditional symbols to attract good luck for the new year. And they all start the New Year with the saying: Buon anno !