Italian New Year’s Eve Tradition of Wearing Red Underpants for Good Luck

Eating lentils and sausages, and wearing red underwear are all good luck in Italy on New Year’s Eve.

I discovered the tradition of the lucky red underpants when Vita wrote to me. Here’s what she said:

…my grandmother in Naples, Italy used to tell us that wearing red underpants on New Years Eve brought good luck – I don’t know if she told us this because it was funny to little kids or because it is actually a custom.

I’ve been reading about it and have discovered that wearing red underwear for New Year’s Eve does indeed seem to be the tradition in Italy. It’s better if they’re given to you as a gift, and if they’re brand-new this year.

They also eat lentils in Italy for good monetary fortune in the upcoming year. Lentils with zampone o cotechino (sausages) is the most popular dish that’s served. Pork is an auspicious sign for the New Year and it’s part of the meal.

If you’re interested in learning about other New Year’s traditions, you can read about Symbolic Foods Eaten Around the World for New Years. Feel free to share your traditions with us in the comments below.

Buon anno! Happy New Year!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 3:42 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Holidays Around the World, Italian, Italy, Languages, Mama Lisa, New Years. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “Italian New Year’s Eve Tradition of Wearing Red Underpants for Good Luck”

  1. David W Solomons Says:

    The red underwear must indeed be new. Apparently some Italians believe that wearing red underwear that is not new actually brings bad luck… So shops that sell red undergarments must be a good investment tip for December!

  2. Jessica Says:

    An Italian lived with me for a year. Before New Years Eve we bought each other new red undergarments for the occassion. What fun, what fun! But yes, they must be new, red, and given as a gift.

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