New Year’s Eve is celebrated much like Christmas Eve, with family, fireworks and feasting, laughter and drinking, and in our case, buckets and bonfires. However, there are a few local traditions that you shouldn’t miss out on.
It is considered good luck to wear red or yellow underwear to bring in the New Year. The red underwear brings luck in love, and the yellow underwear brings luck in finances. The underwear should be new and purchased as a gift for the wearer for the full effect. Last year, I wore my yellow chonies (underwear), but I should have also worn a yellow bra as well since the financial benefits were only observable in the second half of the year, but something is better than nothing I suppose. My son couldn’t decide which would be better, the money or the love, so he wore yellow boxers over his red underwear. The result was that he continued to be well loved and my increase in finances provided for his increase in allowance. I bullied my husband into his yellow chonies (underwear), and it paid off. January 1 brought the birth of 4 healthy chivitos (goat kids), and a fifth born on January 2 rounded off the effect nicely. This doubled our little herd in one day, so an immediate payoff so to speak. As 4 of the 5 were male, that’s money in the bag in 6 months or so. As
Another New Year’s Eve tradition is the consumption of 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Each grape represents a month and must be eaten before the church bells stop ringing. As each grape is eaten, you can make a pedida (request or wish) for the coming year. Like birthday wishes, it is considered bad luck to reveal your desires until they come true. My mother-in-law swore that she received her materials from DIF to build her house from her New Year’s Eve wish. So last year, we incorporated this little custom into our family New Year’s Eve celebrations. It isn’t as easy as you might think. I was hard pressed to tragar (swallow) all 12 grapes in the allotted time limit. Maybe it was because our grapes were mammoth sized. It literally took 2 or 3 bites for me to eat each grape. And then they had seeds too. I just swallowed hunks of grapes, seeds and all, in an effort to finish. Fortunately, the grapes are served with a glass of champagne or sidra (cider wine), so I was able to drown my disappointment with a little bubbly.
Cleaning is also a regular part of the New Year’s Eve (or afternoon) activities. The house should be swept from back to front in preparation for the New Year. If you are in need of an extra bit of cleansing, there is the possibility of La Limpieza de las Siete Iglesias (the 7 church cleaning). This requires a trip to 7 churches and a bit of holy water from each church. Then the holy water should be mixed with cloro (Clorox) and the super-powered cleaning can begin. As I worked until late afternoon on New Year’s Eve, I didn’t have time to make the required pilgrimage, so our house just got the regular cleaning. Maybe next year.
New Year’s day finds the streets in Moroleón deserted as revelers nurse sidra induced hangovers.