Friday, January 4

For Milly:
New Year in Positano is usually cold and for the most part spent outside on the beach. Each year I look with longing at all the festive dresses and sparkly tops in the shop windows, knowing that there anything I wore would be completely covered up by a coat and scarf.

The evening kicks off with a big dinner, cenone. Friends and family gather and eat and drink until midnight, usually with the television or radio on in the background so as not to miss the countdown to midnight. Often pork and lentils are served, the lentils are believed to resemble coins, bringing luck for the new year. Down on the beach the seafront restaurants are packed with italian tourists, swathed in fur coats and elegant overcoats. In the square on the beach a few people dance to traditional music played by a band on a stage that faces the lion steps. As midnight draws near the band stop playing and start the countdown.

On the stroke of midnight the whole town erupts into a cacaphony of noise and colour as the churchbells start ringing in the New Year and fireworks are set off from every terrace, garden and beach. Along the coast the next village reflects Positano in miniature with fireworks shooting out from every corner of the town. The fireworks are deafening, reverberating around the mountainside until it almost feels like being stuck in the middle of a warzone.

We stood on our friends terrace, watching the display until 12.30 and then made our way down to the beach. Skye had fallen asleep at 10pm and even though I had woken her to see the fireworks she was very sleepy, and cold too. We pushed our way through the crowds, greeting friends and sipping champagne. By the front of the stage we danced a little to warm up, but Skye was tired and wanted to go home.

I know that later in the square there was music from another band and after that a lot of people went over to the Fornillo beach where a huge party was held that lasted till dawn. But by 2.30am we were tucked up in bed and fast asleep, not even disturbed by the fireworks that still exploded throughout the night.


  1. thanks a lot for your response.

  2. Sounds absolutely wonderful!

  3. Niki,

    I don't know if you'll find this interesting but the pork lentils thing is an import from the North, I figure about 1960s. Before then, the big meal on New Year's Eve was a duplicate of the all fish meal eaten on Christmas Eve, with a different spin on the dishes. New years Day was a holy day of obligation, the Feast of the Circumcision, and consequently a day of fast and abstinence, just as was Christmas Eve anticipating Christmas Day. Pope Pius XII reformed the Church calendar in 1955, abolishing a lot of the old vigils and the fasts that went with them. I know that Under the Neapolitan Sun recently mentioned fish and New Year's Eve and I have a Neapolitan Christmas book from the 1990s that states the same...I was just wondering if anyone does the fish on New years Eve anymore. We always had the pork roast on New Year's Day...I've found that a lot of the old traditions are remembered better Stateside then they are in the old country just due to the evolution of societies and cultures.

    Buon Anno!

  4. HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and may 2008 be the best year yet for you and your family. :)

  5. I haven't eaten any lentils yet, usually we eat them at my mom's but since we had a snowstorm that day I didn't get to eat them with her. I wonder if it's just New Year's Eve or day that you have to eat them to get the luck? When I was speaking to my mom I said "I've been eating lentils every New Year's all my life...where's my fortune?" LOL:) I guess I'm lucky we are all healthy with roofs over heads with good family, friends and jobs. That is fortune enough for me. A little money fortune wouldn't hurt though. it 16 days to go now?

  6. P.S. It sounded like a wonderful evening. It's so great to include Poppy. I have not spent one New Year's Eve without my daughter since she was born, she is 10 now. I can't imagine not spending it with her...of course...when she decides she wants to spend it with her friends then that will be a sad New Year's for me.


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