New Year's Eve is a special occasion for many cultures around the world and the Italians are no exception. Italians are a cheerful and lively people who love parties, and being a traditionally superstitious country, the list of rituals to wish good luck and prosperity for the new year is long. In Abruzzo, for example, it is believed that at the precise moment when midnight strikes, the water in the rivers stops and turns gold for a few seconds before flowing again as if nothing had happened. Grandparents tell the story of a girl who found herself drawing water from her basin at that very moment and instead of water she brought home gold; Moreover, on 31 December, all the women get busy with the household chores to ensure that all the work of the coming year is completed, while the peasants of Emilia Romagna are against this, saying "you have to do a little bit of all the work because that way they all turn out well", and even better are the people of Lombardy who say "on New Year's Eve, you have to have absolute rest, otherwise you'll toil for the whole year". In the Marche region, they pay close attention to the "calends", and from the weather in the first twelve days of the year they can tell the weather for the whole year. To predict the price of wheat, the Sicilian peasants take an ear of corn from the haystack, from which they take twelve grains and place them on the hearth in a circle made only of embers. If the grain combined with a month jumps forward, the price in that month will increase, if it jumps backward, it will decrease. However, there are some rituals that are common throughout the country:
New Year's Eve dinner brings zampone or cotechino and lentils to the table. In the past, it was customary to give a purse with lentils inside instead of money, in the hope that they would turn into gold coins. Nowadays, purse money is no longer given as a present, but the tradition of eating lentils as a good omen for the new year is still present. Dinner always ends with a binge of dried fruit and grapes. In ancient times, some farmers kept a few bunches of grapes from the grape harvest until New Year's Eve. This custom symbolised the vigour and strength of the vineyard.
Italians love fireworks, the dark sky at midnight on the 31st turns into a canvas and we all become painters, launching small and large coloured fireworks, painting, lighting and radiating in a blaze of sparkling rainbows.