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Beyond Toscano

Capodanno – The new year

Capodanno – The new year
Like many everyday features of the modern world, we get our calendar from the Romans. The Julian calendar was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, and with it came the concept of a new year beginning on January 1st – named after the Roman god Janus, the god of gateways.

Janus was an important god. The weak spot of any building is its doors. By worshiping Janus, Romans believed their fortifications would be protected. And as the gateway to the new year, January was the perfect month to borrow his name and celebrate him, not least of all because Janus had two heads; one to look forwards, and one to look back.

The Roman Capodanno celebrations involved friends, family and plenty of wine. Gifts of white vases filled with honey, dates and figs were given along with laurel branches to bring luck and happiness.