Did you have Panettone or Pandoro at Christmas? Are you ready now to celebrate Capodanno? Here are some Italian traditions about it.
You probably already know that Capodanno is composed of two words and a preposition CAPO D’ANNO which literally means HEAD OF YEAR. In fact, it should refer to the first day of the year, but we in Italy all refer to it as the 31st night and the 1st of January.
As in all the countries we have some traditions which are supposed to bring good luck or to ward off evil spirits. For example, all over in Italy we use to eat ‘Lo zampone e le lenticchie’. Lo zampone is the trotter of the pork with a roll of skin attached and filled with lean pork meat (see picture). Le lenticchie are lentils. Sometimes, people don’t like to have a foot of pork in their plate, so they go for ‘Cotechino’ instead. It looks like a big sausage (see picture) and it is the some thing as zampone. This plate eaten during the night is supposed to bring money and prosperity to the eater. Try and let me know!
Another food which is suppose to have the same property is the ‘Melograno’ or pomegranate. Lentils and pomegranate seeds are actually quite similar.
Red is the colour of Capodanno and it is supposed to bring good luck. In fact, women are supposed to wear new red under garments during Capodanno’s night…
An old tradition says that you should kiss someone underneath the mistletoe… I have never seen anybody doing it, I am not so old!
During Capodanno’s night we are also used to having fireworks, and any town, small or big, has their own. Many families also buy their own to have their own fun. In the antiquity, fireworks were supposed to keep away evil spirits.
In the end, please, take a piece of advice. If at Capodanno you are around Napoli, be extremely careful. As another of our traditions is to throw away things during Capodanno’s night! Over there, they throw things out of balconies and windows… you really don’t want a washing machine or dishwasher landing on you… Also because in Italy we say that you will spend the rest of the year in the same way you spend Capodanno and you really do not want to spend it in a hospital!