The science of superstition is never better and more alive than in the last minutes of every year. We go nuts trying to figure out the many ways we could possibly alter our luck in the coming year …and Latin America is the mother of all New Year’s Eve traditions. In the end, your grandma was right: there’s nothing some yerbas and a little fire can’t solve. 2008 was definitely a year of change; let’s do everything in our power to ensure 2009 follows the hype. Go crazy, burn some effigies, layer on the undies and kick ass in 09!
This one is a classic move on New Year’s Eve: red underwear for love, yellow for work, green for money and white for good health. What to do if we want all of these promises in the coming year? Layers maybe? Which one goes first–the one you want the most? Thongs vs Granny Panties? Does it make a difference?
Festa de Iemanjá
In Brazil, people come together to honor Iemanjá, the goddess of water and mother of all gods in popular Brazilian tradition. On NYE, Brazilians fill small boats with flowers, rice, and other offerings to thank Iemanjá for the past year and to ask for her generosity in the coming year. This might be a great idea with the current economic crisis upon us. Head to the closest body of water (or use your bathtub…), fill up your boats and party with some Samba, hoping for better days to come in 2009.
Let all your rage out and freak out your neighbors a little bit with this one. In Ecuador they like to set important or shitty figures of the passing year on fire. You can make your own out of cloths, stick and newspapers. At the stroke of midnight, your least favorite figure can be set to ashes. Who shall we burn from 2008? For sure the ex, the bad roomies, and the boss.
Donde Hubo Fuego, Cenizas Quedan
There are several traditions that involve the burning of pieces of paper to rid our souls of bad karma. Some have confessed to burning these in a pot inside their house for lack of chimney or garden. Please use your best judgment with all this fire activity! You can burn your bads or males of the year to make sure that goes away forever, or you can get poetic with yourself and write down what you wish for in 2009. When the time is right, burn your thoughts away in hopes that your most intimate desires come true in the next year.
You should probably do this anyways, but our friends in Puerto Rico like to start the new year clean inside and out. Tradition says to clean your home, car and streets for a spiffy start to the new year. This is also the night children rid their homes of evil spirits by throwing buckets of water out the window. (Remember this if you’re walking on the street on New Year’s Eve!)
Green In Your Wallet
Drop that green in you wallet–not the bills though. Our friends in Colombia like to place a bay leaf or laurel in their billfolds for better luck with their money in the coming year. It will keep you rich and your wallet smelling great. It’s a win, win.
Hit the stairs, go around the house, or shit, the entire block, run in circles, do whatever, but make sure you’ve got the maleta in hand if you want to travel in 2009. Grab your favorite suitcase and get going if you want the positive travel vibes in the bag. Many assure that this tradition really yields to great luck if you want to leave your hood and explore the world, and some insist that the farther you run, the farther you travel.
Las Famosas Uvas
It’s a must, plus you look cool with a handle of grapes in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. Take one grape for each month of the year (you can dip them in the champagne if you wish to multi-task) and make a wish each time. That’s 12 handy chances to think of positive things you want to see in the big 09.
…and of course, kisses and hugs all around, just because.