If you want the New Year to be filled with good luck and wealth, then you had better eat what the Italians eat for dinner on New Years Eve, ‘Zampone e Lenticchie’, ‘Pig’s trotters and lentils’. This dish is traditional throughout Italy and no dinner is without it on New Years Eve.
So, how did this unusual dish become to be so popular and why? Well, according to tradition, ‘Zampone’ was created at the beginning of the sixteenth century (1511) by the citizens of the court of Pico Mirandola, in order to preserve pigs meat during the long siege of the city by the troops of Pope Julius II. According to legend, all the pigs were slaughtered to prevent them falling into the hands of the invaders and their meat was ground and stuffed into the pig’s trotters to preserve it. The Zampone was born! This saved the citizens of Mirandola from hunger and thus the pig’s trotters were thought to be lucky.
Over time, the trotter was served on the last day of the year with lentils which was already believed to be associated with bringing good luck or rather, money. Each lentil represents a coin, the significance being that the more lentils eaten the more fortune you will receive in the New Year. The casing of the pig’s trotter represents the money sack in which to collect the coins. This tradition is still upheld today! So, if you want the New Year to be filled with good luck, and your purse full of money, then try this unusual traditional Italian dish!
More New Years Eve Traditions in Italy
Red underwear worn on New Years Eve is also believed to bring you good luck for the forthcoming year!
Another tradition, is to throw belongings out of a balcony window, in order to accept the new beginning. So if you are wandering the streets of Italy around midnight, beware of falling articles from above!
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