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NEW YEAR'S EVE -- Molise -- Personal Recollections
Originated from: Molise, Italy
Occasion: New Year's
Contributed by: Image courtesy of The New York Public Library, Digital Gallery #1588148

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Some Southern Italians will insist that prior to World War II no one had parties for New Year's Eve. However, this does not seem to have been the case. While it's true that in poorer households (particularly farmers') New Year's Eve was not considered a major event, nonetheless, most Italians took note of the new year by getting together with family and friends and sharing a meal. Prior to World War II the food served on New Year's Eve was kept relatively simple. In the region of Molise all the sweets served during the Christmas' and New Year's holidays were fried (No cakes were baked!). The traditional sweet fritters included: "caragnelle," "cicerchiata," "scrapelle" and "sfringiun." Sugar-glazed and/or honey-glazed almonds were also popular for New Year's Eve as well as for the Christmas holidays as these snacks were also cooked in a frying pan, on a slow fire, on the hearth. In the late 1950s, as the standard of living improved, so did the amount and variety of foods offered. In the 1970s most North Americans of Italian descent included cookies, cakes and store-bought "torrone" and "pannetone" as part of their "traditional" holiday celebrations. Nowadays, of course, most Italians, both those living in Europe and those living in North America, celebrate New Year's Eve by going to restaurants or halls, so the foods eaten have taken on an international flavor....

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