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Why Latinos eat grapes and wear yellow underwear on New Year’s Eve

by ace
Why Latinos eat grapes and wear yellow underwear on New Year's Eve

TORONTO –
I can't speak for all Latinx people – people with Latin American roots – but on New Year's Eve, our favorite traditions usually don't include "Auld Lang Syne".

Latinx New Year's Eve can be a celebration full of rituals and superstitions that focus mainly on increasing people's luck.

Although some traditions are not always widespread – depending on your family, country or region – here are a few dozen practiced in Latin America and the diaspora.

1) BURNING DOLLS SYMBOLIZING THE OLD YEAR

In a tradition originating from Ecuador and Panama, people record life-size photos or muñecas (dolls) of people who spoiled the closing year. In Colombia and Paraguay, muñecas are set on fire by fireworks.

Although straw effigies may symbolize a friendship or relationship going south, more recently, people have made some representing politicians or athletes who threw the ball that year.

"You are burning the new year – and whatever has happened badly – and you put all that negative energy into that straw figure," Berenice Villagomez, coordinator of Latin American Studies at the University of Toronto, said CTVNews.ca in a statement. telephone interview.

She said the practice began as a sanitary measure during the yellow fever outbreak of the 1890s. At the time, authorities were calling for the burning of loved ones' clothing, but the practice became a New Year's Eve custom.


2) PLAYING POTATO UNDER YOUR BED

In Colombia, some people throw three raw potatoes under their beds on December 31: a peeled (completely peeled), another half peeled potato and a third peeled potato.

Then, without looking, people reach under the bed and pick up the first potato they touch. Grabbing a peel means they will be broken this year; a peeled medium means that they will face economic conflicts; and grabbing the naked means good financial luck.

3) USING YELLOW, RED LUCKY CLOTHING

In addition to people being dressed until nine on New Year's Eve, it also matters what they are wearing underneath. Wearing new and yellow underwear should bring luck, money and happiness in the new year, because color means wealth. When wearing new and red underwear, you should introduce more love and passion.

"It's new underwear – it has to be new," Villagomez laughed. In some circles, people also need to wear them from the inside out until after midnight and then release them in the new year.

4) EAT 12 GRAPES NEAR MIDNIGHT

As the new year approaches, it is not uncommon for Latinx people to have 12 grapes on hand. After midnight – when each bell rings – people eat a white grape and place an order.

"And if you do that, you will be blessed by the new year," said Villagomez. But Regina University history professor Scarlet Munoz Ramirez said other groups believe they need to eat grapes during the midnight countdown.

Each grape symbolizes a different month, and if a particular grape has a bitter taste, then the month it represents can be a little difficult.

The practice stems from Spanish farmers of the 1880s who had a particularly good harvest and did not know what to do with the over harvest. "It was made by upper class people and eventually (the practice) traveled to the Americas," said Villagomez.

5) BREAKING A SUITCASE

Man and woman walking on a dock

A popular tradition – especially among young people – is to carry luggage around the neighborhood to be lucky enough to travel later in the year.

"Apparently the more you want to travel, the more you have to go around the block," said Villagomez. "So if you want to take a trip around the world, you have to go four blocks or so."

Some believe that the luggage trick only works if it is full. So pack items and clothing that you would take on your fantasy travels – bring ski gear if you want to reach the slopes or bikinis if you are eyeing the beach.

6) CHAMPAGNE DRUNK WITH ONE RING IN

Glasses people

No one has ever complained about having too much money; therefore, for more financial luck, place a gold ring in the glass you plan to toast.

Villagomez elaborated that ring material or stones in jewelry are also important, because if it is fool's gold, it will not increase your good fortune.

7) Throwing water out the window

To literally eliminate next year's bad luck, some Latinx people, especially those from Cuba, put a bucket or glass of water in the window. Some believe this symbolizes all the tears and suffering you wish to avoid after January 1st.


8) LENTILS, LENTILS, LENTILS

Putting a handful of uncooked lentils in your purse, briefcase or backpack – and leaving them there all year long – means money won't be a problem in the new year.

A variation on this custom involves eating a spoonful of lentils early in the year. This custom is believed to have been from Italy, where eating lots of lentils on the last day of the year ensured financial luck next year.

9) HAVE MONEY IN HAND

Hundred Dollar Bills

At midnight, having enough money in your hands to make it rain at midnight is another Latin American tradition. The more money you have, the better your fortune will be in the new year.


10) STAY AWAY FROM BLACK, USE WHITE

Villagomez said that while it is traditional to avoid black clothes on New Year's Eve to avoid bad luck, in recent years, young people have less tendency to follow this.

In Brazilian culture, dressing in white is a symbol that the user is entering the new year without load and pure.

11) LIGHT A CANDLE

Red and green candles

If you want to set the mood for the year, some Latin American cultures believe you can do it with candles. Lighting a yellow will help boost a good financial juju; While lighting green candles will increase the chances of good health.

Meanwhile, lighting blue candles will bring peace to believers; the red will bring love and the fiery orange will bring more wisdom.


12) SWEEP NEGATIVE ENERGY

Marie Kondo taught millions of viewers of her Netflix show about KonMari, which involved telling others to keep only items that “bring joy.

But for Latin Americans, before midnight or just after midnight, many can be caught playing salsa music while vacuuming the entire house, cleaning the bathroom floor and throwing out unnecessary waste – all in one. effort to attract more positive energy, said Villagomez.

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