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New Year's Day in Italy

New Year’s Day in Italy falls on January 1 and marks the start of the year in the Gregorian calendar.

Is New Year's Day a Public Holiday?

New Year's Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Fireworks are lit to celebrate the New Year.

©iStockphoto.com/Tim Starkey

What Do People Do?

Many Italians celebrate the end of the old year and the start of New Year’s Day with fireworks. Many people celebrate a New Year’s dinner with dishes that include:

  • Risotto in bianco (white risotto).
  • Lentils (symbolizing wealth/good fortune).
  • Cotechino (pork sausage boiled over low heat for hours before serving).
  • Zampone (a type of sausage).
  • Raisins (for good luck).

The media often write or broadcast an overview of the previous year and changes that are announced, planned or anticipated for the New Year.

Public Life

Many organizations, businesses, and educational institutions are closed on New Year’s Day, including:

  • Schools.
  • Government offices.
  • Post offices.
  • Banks.

Transport options, such as taxis, rail services between major cities and major long-route bus lines, are available on New Year’s Day but travelers should check with local public transport authorities at this time of the year.

Background

New Year’s Day marks the start of a new year according to the Gregorian calendar. It is a relatively modern practice. Although Romans began marking the start of their civil year on January 1 in their calendar (prior to the Gregorian calendar), the traditional springtime opening of the growing season and time for major military campaigns still held on as the popular New Year celebration.

Symbols

Symbolic traditions in Italian history include:

  • Throwing pots, pans, and clothes out of the window to let go of the past and move toward the future.
  • Firing a Christmas log before New Year’s Day to turn away evil spirits (who don’t like fire) and invite the Virgin Mary to warm newborn Jesus.
  • Wearing red underwear for good luck.

About New Year's Day in other countries

Read more about New Year's Day.

New Year's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010FriJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2011SatJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2012SunJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2013TueJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2014WedJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2015ThuJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2016FriJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2017SunJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2018MonJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2019TueJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday
2020WedJan 1New Year's DayNational holiday

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