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How Romans celebrate New Year’s Eve (I lost my hair over this!)

It was like the battle of the Caudine Forks all over again. And I was about to get burned.

What’s your best New Year’s Eve memory?

One of mine is getting a spumante shower in Villa Borghese. But it was too late to save me.

If you were walking the streets of Rome tonight, everyone would greet you with the word, “Auguri!”

This means something like congratulations and good luck, rolled into one. Congratulations, I assume, because you survived another year in Italy. Good luck, because you still have to make it through the night.

You see, if you were walking the streets of Rome tonight, you would probably be trapped in a narrow cobblestone alleyway, packed like a sardine with hundreds of other people. It would be the battle of the Caudine Forks all over again.

While you crept forward, locked in a human glacier, people would throw fireworks out of the windows above you. One time, a firecracker hit me and burned my hair (and you thought I shaved my head to look cool).

At midnight, the Romans eat lentils and grapes. This is supposed to make you rich in the coming year. It hasn’t worked for me yet, but maybe that’s because I drink my grapes.

What about you? What are you doing tonight? Whether you’re cheering on the streets with all humanity, cracking your head at your favorite club, or staying warm and comfortable under a roof, I wish you all the best for an awesome 2018. I know you’ve got this.

Buon Capo d’Anno. And thanks for reading.

Auguri!

Jacob Bear

Shortly after I lost my hair, I took a long bike tour along the route of the ancient Roman road, via Appia. A book about these misadventures will come out in 2018, but in the meantime you can get my original travel notes, including a map that was hand-drawn by an Italian archeologist. Grab your free copy in the top right corner of this page (you might have to scroll up to see it). Thanks for reading!

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