Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve Traditions

Last New Year's Eve I came across a couple of article on traditions for this day. I told myself I would do them this year. And I plan to do as many as possible.

This first was an article on Huffington Post about traditions in Latin America. Some were just so cool and different, I want to share them here:

1. Wear red or yellow panties. "On New Year's Eve wear red panties to guarantee passion and love in the new year, or yellow underwear to help bring money and happiness into your life." Or go for broke and wear panties with both colors!

2. Clean your house. "On December 31, scrub down your house and throw out any trash to cleanse your home from any negativity and to attract positive energy into your life." Interestingly, this cleaning ritual seems to cross all traditions around the world.

3. Write a wish list for the new year. "Similar to the widely practiced tradition of making a list of "New Year's Resolutions," a "lista de deseos" (wish list) for the new year should include all those goals you're hoping to reach next year and those less tangible wishes like "finding the one" or "world peace." Whatever it is that you put on your list make sure to also write how you plan to meet those goals or help realize those dreams. Then, fold it in half and after the clock strikes twelve read it to yourself. Keep it and refer back to it throughout the year!" I think this makes a little more sense than just the usual list of resolutions. Less pressure.

4. 12 months, 12 grapes. "This is no midnight snack. Before (or during) the hugs and kisses that ensue after the new year begins, make sure to eat 12 grapes -- representing the 12 months of the new year -- while making a wish for every month/grape that you have. But beware! Get a sour grape and that could mean a bad month is in store for you. Also, many believe the grapes must be consumed within the first 12 minutes of the new year -- or else..." This one takes place after the stroke of midnight, not before. So plan ahead.

5. Run around the block with luggage. "If travel is what you're looking for in the new year all you have to do is run around your block (or up and down your stairs) with your luggage in hand. But be careful, empty bags won't get you far. You should pack objects that represent the type of locations you'd like to visit. Place swim trunks in your luggage if you'd like to travel to the beach, a passport if you want to go abroad, or ski gear if you want to hit the slopes." Since you'll want to pack exactly the kinds of things you'll need, I suggest using the kind of luggage on wheels that you can pull. And if you are worried about weird looks from your neighbors, maybe just run around your yard.

6. Hold money in your hands when the clock strikes 12. "Before the clock strikes twelve put your drink down and grab some bills (preferably from your own wallet). Having money in your hand at midnight is meant to ensure economic prosperity in the new year. Keep in mind that holding a $100 bill will give you better results than a $1 bill!" I'm going to go out on a limb here and recommend against using play money. LOL!

7. Sweep out negative energy. "If this year brought you nothing but problems, suffering, tears, etc., then it's time to sweep it all out of your home -- and your life. On New Year's Eve simply take a broom to the front door and start sweeping towards the street. This ritual should rid you of all the negativity you've harbored throughout the year." This is another one of those rituals that I've seen across countries and traditions, as well.

8. Burn the bad. "Before midnight, take some time to write everything you'd like to forget from this year and then simply burn it up. Once you've left the past in ashes you'll be ready to take on the new year." I talked about something similar before, known as the Burning Bowl Ritual.

9. The drink of wealth. "For a little more financial luck in the new year simply take anything gold (like a ring) and drop it in the drink you plan to toast with." Word of caution: be sure not to swallow the gold! The last thing you want is a trip to the emergency room.

10. Eat lentils. "In this tradition that originated in Italy, eating lentils throughout the last day of the year, or a spoonful immediately at the beginning of the new year, will guarantee that the next year will be filled with riches!" Find a lentil dish you like and add it to your evening's dining repertoire. Continue that theme and "take a half a handful of (uncooked!) lentils and drop them in your purse, backpack, etc. Keep them in there year around and money won't be a problem in the new year!"

11. Light a candle. "Candles on New Year's Eve can help make the new year prosperous and positive. Lighting a green candle will bring you good health while a yellow candle will help your financial troubles. For those looking for some wisdom, an orange candle should be lit while a blue one will bring you peace and a red candle passion or love." One suggestion for the candle is to burn a bayberry candle. Tradition holds it be burned on either Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve, with the idea that: For a bayberry candle burned to the socket, will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.

12. Wear your underwear inside out. "Wearing your underwear backwards on New Year's Eve and fixing it during the first few minutes of the new year will guarantee plenty of new clothes in the new year!" I guess it would be okay if your underwear was red or yellow, too. That counts twice, right?

13. End the year with a splash. "For many Latinos, moving on isn't necessarily water under the bridge... in fact it's more like throwing a bucket of water out of a window. In this New Year's Eve ritual, water symbolizes all of the suffering and tears you'd like to get rid off before the start of the new year. Whether it's a glass or a bucket full of water, splashing your woes out on the street can be the best way to put the past behind you!" Throwing this water on your guests does not count. Just sayin'.

14. A bright house means a bright year. "Nothing says clarity and prosperity like light, so many Latinos make it a point to welcome the new year by having all of the lights in the house on. Turn them on just minutes before the clock strikes 12, but don't leave them on too long or the first gift in the new year will be a hefty electricity bill!" And if you went crazy with Christmas lights...

15. Wear white for peace and health. "Wearing white on New Year's Eve is said to bring you good health and internal peace in the new year. The color is also known to absorb positive energy." But be aware how well every will be able to see your red or yellow underwear. Consider making it just a white shirt. ;)

16. Start the year on the right foot. Literally. "As you're counting down the final seconds of the year, making sure only your right foot is firmly on the ground can bring you good luck in the new year." A somewhat similar tradition is the Scottish practice of First Footer.

17. Burn the old year. "In many countries in Latin America large life-sized rag dolls are created with... really whatever you can find. This doll is known as the "Old Year" and on New Year's Eve it's tradition to burn the doll to symbolically purify yourself and be rid of all the negativity that the old year brought you." Just be careful you don't create a fire you can't handle, and please, please, please do not burn someone's treasured doll because you don't like it. That would just be mean and really set an ugly tone for the new year!

Be sure to check out the original article for a few more ideas to help ring in your new year. I just chose the ones that appealed to me.

Have a happy new year! May it bring all the blessings you desire!
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