01 January 1966

The Old Year Burns, the New Year Comes

Nino Cocchi

Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi
New Year's Eve with the Vecchione (to represent the old year) burning in Piazza Maggiore has been a Bolognese tradition since 1922. In the notes of the amateur filmmaker Nino Cocchi, this shot of the fire and the fireworks was dated between 1960 and 1965. It was no easy to reconstruct the precise date. It cannot be 1960 and 1964, leap years in which it is the Vecchia (Old Woman) who burns, nor even 1962, when the effigy of the past year was set on fire 24 hours earlier for a stunt and replaced at the last with another puppet. The decisive factor is the production edge code of the 1965 Kodak film, which allows us to date the film used that evening. The night is therefore that of the passage between December 31, 1965 and January 1, 1966. But in truth it doesn't really matter, the ritual is repeated in the same way from one year to the next