Happy New Year in Italian – Pronunciation, Variations, and Traditions

Ringing in the New Year is a huge celebration throughout Italy.

December 31st is St. Silvester’s Night (La Notte di San Silvestro) and to celebrate we enjoy parties, concerts, fireworks, and festivals.

We have our special New Year’s dishes and of course, we usually pop a bottle of prosecco or other Italian sparkling wine to celebrate with friends!

Wherever you are in Italy, you’ll hear people wishing each other Happy New Year in Italian.

How Do You Wish Someone Happy New Year in Italian?

There are many ways to wish someone a Happy New Year in Italian. You can use these phrases in formal and informal situations.

GIF of the different ways to say Happy New Year in Italian.

Buon Anno!

This is a very simple way to send your good wishes.  It’s literally “Good Year!” (as in “Have a Good Year!”)

Buon Anno Nuovo!

Another simple way to say Happy New Year.  It translates to “Good New Year!”

Felice Anno Nuovo!

This is the literal way to say “Happy New Year!”  Felice is the Italian word for ‘happy.’

Buona Fine e Buon Inizio!

This is how you wish someone a “Good end to the year and a great start (to the new year)!” It’s less commonly used.

Auguri!

Auguri is an Italian word that means ‘good or best wishes’ and it’s used in many situations (including birthdays).

Around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Auguri can be used as a generic “Happy Holidays” to wish someone a Merry Christmas and/or a Happy New Year.  It’s a simple way to send separate or combined Christmas greetings and New Year greetings.

Auguri per un prospero anno nuovo!

This translates to “Best wishes for a prosperous new year.” 

Auguri per un sereno anno nuovo!

Literally “Best wishes for a serene new year.”  It’s a generic good wish, but you could also use it if you specifically know that someone’s had a difficult past year.

I miei migliori auguri per il nuovo anno!

This translates to “My best wishes for the new year!”

Auguri per un felice 2023!

“Best wishes for a Happy 2023!”

Buon anno a te e tutta la tua famiglia!

‘Happy new year to you and the whole family!’ This is informal, if you want to make it formal you could say ‘Buon Anno a Lei e tutta la sua famiglia.”

When to Say Happy New Year (Buon Anno) to Someone in Italy

  • You arrive at someone’s house
  • You pass someone on the street
  • You’re making a toast
  • The clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve!
  • You’re writing a letter or sending a greeting card
  • You’re sending an email
  • You’re sending a text message
  • You haven’t heard from someone for a while and it’s the beginning of a new year

How To Respond When Someone Wishes You a Happy New Year in Italian

Grazie! 

Thank you!

Grazie, altrettanto!

Thank you, same to you!

Grazie, anche a te! 

Thank you, you too! (informal)

Grazie, anche a Lei!

Thank you, you too! (formal)

Grazie, anche a voi!

Thank you, you too! (plural; also used instead of ‘Lei’ in the south of Italy in formal situations)

Grazie, auguri!

Thanks, best wishes!

Wishing Someone Happy New Year in Italian in Writing

If you want to wish someone a ‘Happy New Year’ in Italian in a letter, email, or greeting card, you can write:

Informal Situations:

Caro/a [RECEIVER’S NAME],

Ti auguro un felice anno nuovo, circondato/a dalle persone a te care.

Con affetto,
[YOUR NAME]

Dear (male/female) [RECEIVER’S NAME],

I wish you a Happy New Year, surrounded by your (male/female) loved ones.

Affectionately Yours,
[YOUR NAME]

For example:

Caro Marco,

Ti auguro un felice anno nuovo, cincondato dalle persone a te care.

Con affetto,
Elisabetta

Formal Situations:

Gentile [RECEIVER’S NAME],

Sinceri auguri di Buon Anno a Lei e la sua famiglia!

[YOUR NAME]

Dear [RECEIVER’S NAME],

Most sincere wishes for a Happy New Year to you and your family!

[YOUR NAME]

More Written Happy New Year Phrases:

Che il nuovo anno vi riservi tanta felicità e fortuna. Buon Anno!
I hope that the New Year brings a lot of luck and happiness. Happy New Year!

Brindiamo insieme al nuovo anno che sta per arrivare. Tanti auguri e felicità!
Let’s raise a toast together to ring in the New Year. All good wishes and lots of happiness!

Ti auguro un nuovo anno pieno di cose belle, di incontrare sul tuo tragitto opportunità e occasioni, di essere felice. Auguri di buon anno di cuore!
I hope your New Year is full of great things, opportunities, and happiness. I wish you a Happy New Year with all my heart!

How Do Italians Celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Good Luck Food for New Year’s Eve

Cotechino with lentils and rosemary.

In Italy, we eat specific foods to bring good luck at New Year. Some examples include:

  • Lentils – These have been considered good luck since Roman times, because they look like little coins, hence, the New Year will bring you tons of money! I’ve eaten lots of them – it’s never worked.
  • Cotechino – A kind of sausage with lean and fatty pork, combined with finely chopped pork rind, pepper, nutmeg and cloves, or even wine and cinnamon (according to taste). The mixture is stuffed into a sausage casing.
  • Zampone – As above, but this time the mixture is stuffed into the pig’s trotter (the front one).

Good To Know:  These foods may follow a dinner of regional specialties.  You may already be full, but you have to have at least a bite for good luck!

Good To Know:  The foods you find on the New Year’s Eve dinner table vary by region.  In Northern regions like Trentino-Alto Adige, you’ll find canederli (dumplings) on the table, in Piedmont ravioli del plin (meat-filled ravioli), and more seafood and fish-based dishes in the southern Italian regions.

Italian New Year’s Eve Superstitions

We also have a few superstitions for the last day of the year.  In the words of celebrated Neapolitan actor and playwright Eduardo de Filippo, “Essere superstiziosi è da ignoranti ma non esserlo porta male.” (Only the uneducated are superstitious, but not being superstitious brings bad luck!)

  • Wearing red underwear – brings love and passion all year round!
  • Making sure your wallet is full of money – if it’s full on the 1st day of the year, it’ll be full for the other 364 days.
  • Not eating lobster or chicken – chickens ‘fly’ (and your luck will fly away). Lobsters walk backwards (so you can’t look forward to the year ahead.
  • Kissing someone at midnight (preferably under mistletoe) – ensures your love will last throughout the year
  • Burning a red candle
  • Eating grapes and dried fruit – we eat grapes because of the proverb, ‘Chi mangia uva per Capodanno conta i quattrini tutto l’anno’ (The person who eats grapes at New Year will be counting their money all year round).
  • Throwing old things out of the window – this happens in some areas in the South, but much less now than in the past. In certain areas of Naples it’s TV sets, old fridges, etc!

More Italian Words and Phrases for the New Year

ItalianEnglish
La Vigilia di Capodanno / La Notte di San SilvestroNew Year’s Eve
Capodanno / Il Primo dell’Anno / Il Primo GennaioNew Year’s Day
brindisitoast
conto alla rovesciacountdown
mezzanottemidnight
ballodancing
festaparty
fuochi d’artificio / botti di capodannofireworks
veglione di capodannoNew Year’s Eve celebration
cenone di capodannoNew Year’s Eve dinner
propositi per il nuovo annoNew Year’s resolutions

Buon Anno by Jovanotti

Buon Anno by Joanotti – Lyrics

Want to learn more holiday greetings in Italian? Check out our posts:
How to Say Happy Valentine’s Day in Italian
How to Say Happy Thanksgiving in Italian

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