Cenone di capodanno (New Year's Eve dinner), December 31th
What is uniquely Italian however is the custom of family feasts at home – something that younger generations tend to shun in favor of more lively home parties with their friends, but that remains traditionally very strong all over the country and especially in the south. Here the “cenone” is often the only occasion in the year for all the family members to meet and dine together, including those relatives who normally lead separate lives. The other important aspect of this tradition has an ancient origin, going back to the medieval age, when poverty was so widespread that new year’s eve was one of the few times when people could enjoy a proper meal, complete with expensive treats such as dessert or certain dishes. Having such a rich dinner meant saving for it, but it also turned the meal into a propitiatory ritual of sort – being able to afford better food at the beginning of the year supposedly attracted good luck and more chances for enjoying such victual during the following months.