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Ringing In The New Year

Like any place in the world, Colombians celebrate New Year’s Eve with music, dancing, confetti and lots of noise. And like its Latin American kin, Colombians create Old Men (Año Viejo), firework-stuffed effigies representing the past year's worst politicians, athletes and celebrities. At midnight, these are set ablaze in the middle of town streets, lighting the sky with explosions and sparks. Colombians, though, have some of their own customs (agüeros) to ensure the New Year brings all their desires.

To get rid of negative energy, pray Psalm 91 at precisely midnight, or stand on a chair to allow the past year's bad luck pass below. To have good luck, eat 12 grapes, one at each toll of midnight's bell. Another way to draw good energy, happiness and good times is to wear yellow underwear. It's best to wear them inside out, and then after midnight, turn them right-side out. To fulfill wishes for sexual pleasure, use red underwear.

Champagne plays a part in many other agüeros. A champagne bath at midnight is said to ensure prosperity and good fortune. To guarantee wealth, personal jewels are placed in a goblet of the bubbly. Another ritual entails thrusting hands into a sugar-water fountain, and then washing them with the sparkling wine.

Colombians believe placing coins on a mirror or counting money over and over while midnight tolls secures lots of money in the next year. Throwing coins outside the door and sweeping them back into the house is another way to bring wealth. Putting coins in shoes also attracts money.

A cheaper alternative to draw moolah is to eat lentils or put some in a pocket. Another use of this legume is to take 33 of them (representing the 33 creeds said during Easter Week), tie them in a napkin and safeguard them in a wallet until midnight of the next year. To have both money and travel in the New Year, pack a large suitcase and at 12 sharp, walk around the block.

A divination is performed by breaking two eggs in a glass. The yolks' shapes foretell what the New Year will bring. To find a husband or wife in the next 12 months, sit down and stand up with each stroke of midnight. A final New Year’s Eve act is to burn colored candles, to draw energy: blue (peace), yellow (abundance), red (passion), green (health), white (clarity) or orange (intelligence).

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Colombia: Holidays and Festivals in Güicán, Holidays and Festivals in Puerto Nariño, Holidays & Festivals in Santa Marta, Holidays & Festivals, Holidays and Festivals, Barichara Holidays and Festivals, Holidays and Festivals in Villavicencio, Holidays & Festivals, Tumaco's Feasts And Festivals and Holidays and Festivals in Leticia.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

27 Sep 2011

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