New Year toast touching stemmed glasses in a toast

It is an old tradition in southern Italy to celebrate the New Year by throwing old pots, clothes, utensils, and even furniture out of the window. It symbolizes the “out with the old, in with the new” mentality that prevails at this time of the year. We throw out the bad luck with our unwanted items. Although most people have abandoned this old tradition, I would still watch my head if I was walking down those Neapolitan streets on New Year’s Eve!

Growing up in an Italian family in Brooklyn, no one ever threw unwanted items out of windows on New Year’s Eve. We really didn’t have anything that we considered “old.” We wore clothes until we outgrew them (and donated them or handed them down to younger members of the family). Very worn out clothing could be used for rags. We kept and used furniture and pots and pans for many, many years. In fact, we didn’t replace these things unless they were very broken. (That’s something to think about in our “dollar deal” and throwaway society.)

So our New Year’s tradition centered around a feast prepared by Grandma (which included herring for good luck), listening to the “Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians” show ringing in the New Year, followed by the banging of pots and pans and screaming “Happy New Year!” at the top of our lungs. Maybe all of that noise kept away the bad luck … you never know!

Feature photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.