Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Guess what Italians pop open to celebrate the new year?

If you’d said champagne, or prosecco, you would of course be right. But what you may not have pictured, was a can of lentils. Whether from a can, or fresh, served around midnight with cotechino (sausage), eating lentils is a traditional must on New Year’s Eve. Their shape is thought to symbolize coins, so serving them to guests is to wish them prosperity and good fortune for the year ahead.
It’s not just cork pops that greet the new year, there are plenty of big bangs too. Like the rest of the world, Italians love fireworks. Huge displays erupt in the skies at midnight across the country, with the biggest being in Naples. Many town squares host their own displays, with big bonfires for people to gather around and raise a glass. The party goes on all night, with many people staying up to watch the sunrise and greet in the very first daybreak of the new year.