When I first moved to Italy and was in the throes of learning the language, I made quite a few rookie mistakes (actually, I still make rookie mistakes, though--I like to think--with a certain amount of flair). One of which was in wishing those around me a 'Happy New Year.' Buon anno, as you can see, has an all-important double 'n' in the second word of the phrase. Italian is a lovely language, but one of slavish pronunciation--if you don't get it exactly right, you risk morphing the entire meaning.
To wit: you must absolutely and emphatically enunciate that double 'n' sound, or you are--in reality--saying "Happy Anus" (single 'n' = ano = you-know-what). So that first capo d'anno in the Bel Paese I went around wishing pretty much everyone's nether orifice well.
But, you know, after ten years here, my early malapropism seems strangely prescient. With the recent austerity measures ('austerity' being a euphemism for 'screw you'), many Italians feel they're being forced to, ahem, take it up the derrière. Nowadays, wishing someone a happy anus doesn't seem like such a bad idea after all.
Well, let's not dwell on the negative--best to face these things with a champagne flute filled with good cheer, no? So let's raise our virtual glasses and have a toast:
My very best wishes for a Happy New Year (she said)
Though it's likely we'll be buggered in the months ahead
Counting my blessings,