Effective (or at least fun) New Year Eve's Rituals

Effective (or at least fun) New Year Eve's Rituals

By Andrea Mejía

Click aqui para español- >Rituales de Año Nuevo Efectivos (o al menos divertidos)

We cannot assure that they are effective, but it sure is fun to take part in some of the holiday season rituals. In many Latin American countries, it’s customary to follow these together as a family during the end of the year celebrations.

In some cases, people truly believe that following the rituals attracts good fortune and, in some cases, people just follow a tradition that no one questions anymore. New Year's Eve is a perfect opportunity to carry out the rituals since the date symbolizes a passage from the old year to the new one as a cycle ends and we plan for the future. So, it makes sense to think that this moment of transition is appropriate for ceremonies to attract good fortune and positive vibrations to our lives.

A popular ritual is to receive the New Year wearing yellow or red underwear, which is done to attract passion, love, and money in the upcoming year. Some people attract good luck by adding a gold ring inside the champagne glass for the toast.

If you see dozens of people running around the block at midnight pulling their travel bags, fear not. They are not running for their lives or leaving their spouse. They are partaking in an old tradition that augurs lots of traveling if you do it right after midnight on New Year’s Eve. This crazy ritual is a favorite of mine.

There will be grapes on New Years' Eve, 12 for each person who will eat them at every stroke of the clock while making a wish for each of the 12 months of the upcoming year. In many countries the burning of the "Año Viejo," a dummy made with old clothes and stuffed with straw, wood chips, sawdust and fireworks, takes place right at midnight. This is a ritual of purification to disperse the bad luck and negative energies, and to symbolize leaving behind anything bad that took place during the year ending.

My aunt used to make me write on a piece of paper all the negative things that happened to me during the year and we added the piece of paper to the "Año Viejo."

There are many other rituals, some funny and crazy and some more solemn, like lighting white candles, taking herbal baths, or simply making a list of resolutions for the new year.

There is no guarantee that wishes will come true, or that things will happen, but the wishful thinking and the crazy rituals cannot take away the fun of celebrating during the holidays. This way of celebrating makes the holiday season a more magical time.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2019 for everyone!

Andrea Mejia

Writer/Escritora

Better Living/Vivir mejor

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Publisher's Note

Mixing Traditions

It is no cliché. New Orleans has a wonderful mix of traditions that add to the charm of this amazing city. With the holidays in full-swing, we can enjoy holiday-centered, free events like simple walks around traditional neighborhoods to see the elaborate Christmas decorations, Caroling in Jackson Square, attending the gospel and jazz concerts at St. Louis Cathedral and St. Augustine Church, watching the technological light display during Luna Fête, and visiting the beautifully decorated hotel lobbies in town, among others.

 There is one tradition in Louisiana that is so unique and that I hope to experience this year: The Bonfires on the Levee. Just thinking about seeing the pyres, the fireworks display and its reflection on the river during a cold night and having a warm drink while learning about this tradition from our River Parishes' neighbors sounds like an amazing way to soak in some of the culture around us.

Though the original purpose of the bonfires is unconfirmed, fitting the storyline of Papa Noel following the lights on a pirogue being pulled down river by alligators to deliver presents is such a tale. It involves a mix of many elements that are unique to the culture that has shaped the city of New Orleans.

I just love being able to experience different traditions and learning about the ways diverse groups of people who have made New Orleans their home, celebrate the holidays

Happy Holidays!