Some of the following Italian proverbs are famous, some are not because they are very old or simply less common. I’ll try to translate them. If you have a better translation, please let me know.
Chi non gioca a Natale, chi non balla a Carnevale, chi non beve a san Martino è un amico malandrino.
“Those who don’t play on Christmas, don’t dance on Carnival, don’t drink on St. Martin’s day are bad friends” . Italians usually play tombola (bingo) with children on Christmas.
Tempo chiaro e dolce a capodanno, assicura bel tempo tutto l’anno.
“Clear and sweet weather on New Year’s day, nice weather all year”.
Cotta o pesta, la neve dà acqua.
“Cooked or shaken, the snow turns into water”. Sometimes, any efforts done in order to change things are pointless.
Donna, vino, legna e pane, lascia che nevichi fino a domane.
“If you have your woman (or man…), wine, wood and bread, let it snow until tomorrow”.
Al primo caldo non ti spogliare, al primo freddo non ti vestire
“The first time it’s hot don’t undress, the first time it’s cold don’t dress too much”.
Anno nuovo, vita nuova.
No need to explain this one.
Quel che si fa il primo dell’anno, si fa per tutto l’anno.
“Anything you do on new year’s day, you will do it all year”. Anything!!!
L’Epifania, tutte le feste le porta via.
Epiphany (Jan 6) is the last day of the winter vacation. We also call it “la befana”, the good old witch who fills children’s socks with candy.
Ogni gatto ha il suo gennaio.
Every cat has “its January”. Cats fall in love in January and sometimes they behave erratically. So do people in January.
Tre cose sono di breve durata: giuramenti delle donne, amicizia dei potenti e sole d’inverno.
“There a three short things: promises of women, friendship of powerful people and the winter sunlight”. This is an old proverb. We should add “giuramenti degli uomini” to the list.
Thanks for reading and listening. Remember to buy some red underwear on New Year’s Eve. A presto!
Italian Painting of Today: Giuseppe De Nittis – La lezione di pattinaggio (1875)