Thursday, January 01, 2009

Traditions for Midnight on New Year's Eve

Colombians have many different traditions (some of which are closer to superstitions) that are performed customarily at midnight on New Year's Eve. Each tradition has its own purpose and you cannot do them all; so, you'll have to choose your favorites.
Here is a list of a few traditions you can try in your home:

1. Twelve grapes
As the clock strikes 12 you need to start eating the grapes. Each grape represents one month of the upcoming year, and you are allowed to make a wish with each grape. But you have to finish eating all twelve grapes before 12:01 in order for your wishes to come true. So, have your wish list ready and eat quickly :).


2. Yellow Underwear
If you want to win the lottery next year or at least guarantee yourself riches, try wearing yellow underwear as the clock strikes 12. If you want to double your chances, wear the underwear backwards.


3. Shafts of Wheat
Make sure to place 12 shafts of wheat on your dining room table. This will ensure a year with plenty to eat.


4. The Suitcase
At precisely 12 o'clock, grab your suitcase and run around the entire block with it as fast as you can. When you have completed your journey, you increase your chances of taking a big trip in the upcoming year. So, for you people with itchy feet, forget the grapes and grab the suitcase.


5. Starting Out on the Right Foot
As the clock strikes midnight, make sure your first step is made with your right foot. This will start out the year on the "right foot."


6. Money in Hand or in Pocket
Make sure to have at least $1 in your pocket or in your hand as the clock strikes 12. It foretells a year of financial security. Remember, cash only -- for everything else there is Mastercard.


7. Sweep the Dirt Out the Door
Your house should be cleaned on the 31st and you sweep the last bit of dirt out the front door at midnight. This cleanses your home and brings good energy to your home.


8. Eat Lentils (Recipe to come soon, so you'll have to hold off on this one until next year).
At any time on the 31st of December, eat lentils. It portents a year of plenty.


9. Burn your Año Viejo
This helps you get rid of all your bad luck and mistakes from the previous year.


Make sure that you hug and kiss everyone in your house and wish them Feliz Año.


Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo!

The Colombian Mommy

2 comments:

Carolina said...

In Spain they don't eat the lentils but they throw them (like the rice in the weddings).

Nice post, I think you covered all the ones I knew about.

Anonymous said...

I spent my first New Year in Colombia with my daughter and her birth family. I was really looking forward to the Muneca Ano Viejo, but they really cracked down on explosives this year, as too many little kids injured themselves, I heard. As far as the other traditions, my daughter's birth family put lentils in their pockets (to make them rich in the coming yr. they said) and we put them in ours too. Also, we each ate 12 grapes at midnight, but there didn't seem to be any time limit. Two of the family members collected coins from each of us.
No one grabbed a suitcase, but there was talk earlier about some people running around the block naked, although I didn't notice anyone doing this. The whole family did go outside and dance. Their neighbor insisted we each drink some of his whiskey.
The nicest thing though was that my daughter's aunt read a chapter in the Bible in Spanish, and then had my daughter read the same chapter in English (which mortified her, but she did it nonetheless!) They then said it was the tradition for us to sleep in their house that night, which we did instead of going back to our hotel. Who knows where all the family members slept, as they didn't have enough beds for all. Great to spend the New Yr. there though. Sue