Winning a Colombiana’s Heart with New Year’s Traditions
After the Christmas hype dies down, Colombians prepare for the second most important event of the year (well, the following year, that is) — New Year’s Eve!
Like all other countries, Colombia also has its own unique take on celebrating the New Year. Some of these practices stem from the belief that doing so may bring good luck and wealth. They also have some that will have you raising your eyebrows, such as burning dolls and wearing yellow underwear.
This can be quite a culture shock if you come unprepared. You wouldn’t want your Colombian girlfriend to think that you’re close-minded, after all. Not only will you ruin your holiday in Colombia, but you will also ruin your chances of making a good impression on your girlfriend’s family.
To prepare for the upcoming New Year’s in Colombia, you should become familiar with their New Year’s traditions.
Here are a few you can start with:
Wearing Yellow Underwear
When New Year comes around, Colombians make sure they wear a fresh pair of yellow underwear.
Yellow is a color of wealth and prosperity. According to local belief, wearing this yellow-colored underwear will guarantee you an entire year of blessings and good luck. They have to be brand new, or this superstition won’t work.
Some would even go as far as flipping their underwear and wearing them in reverse for the best results.
Cleaning the House
A thorough cleanup of the house is an absolute necessity for Colombians to welcome the new year.
Giving away old clothes, throwing away old pieces of furniture, replacing the curtains and sheets with new ones — Colombians don’t leave anything behind when cleaning up their house from top to bottom.
They believe that cleaning up gets rid of any accumulated bad energy that the current year has. Switching things up in their house can overwrite any bad memories or experiences they might have.
Stuffing Lentils in Your Pockets
Much like all the other superstitions, filling your pockets with lentils is said to bring good luck for the entire year.
It doesn’t matter what color or type you choose. For convenience, you can even stuff your girlfriend’s pockets with dried lentils. To complete the ritual, you’ll have to cook up the lentils afterward.
Having Cash in your Hands and Pockets
You’ll need to wear a pair of pants when celebrating the New Year with your Colombian girlfriend — because lentils won’t be the only thing you’ll be stuffing your pocket with.
You need to fill your pockets and hands with money to celebrate the New Year. To maximize the effects of this superstition, you’ll have to shake the money in your hands or jump up and down.
Burning a Año Nuevo Doll
This practice is similar to what the British do on Guy Fawkes night. Colombians would make a doll called the Año Nuevo out of straw, cardboard, or sawdust and stuff it with a firework inside. They also tie pieces of paper with their shortcomings in the past to burn out their bad luck.
Burning an effigy doll in Colombia has a symbolic meaning. It frees them from their past grievances from the current to help them start anew in the next. It’s a liberating experience for them and makes them feel like a brand new person.
Carrying a Suitcase Around the Neighborhood
There’s a superstition in Colombia where strolling with a suitcase brings you more travels and adventures for the entire year.
To make it look less awkward, some Colombians would stuff their suitcases with random grocery items. It’s a practice that only the boldest of people would dare to pull off.
Placing a Coin Inside Bread
An odd Colombian tradition that a few select Colombians follow is placing a coin inside the New Year’s bread. Whoever is the breadwinner of the family gets to slice the bread and distribute it to their family. Anyone who receives the coin for the upcoming year will have good luck.
There is another version of this tradition. Instead of a coin and bread, they place any kind of small piece of jewelry inside a champagne glass. Whoever gets the class the moment they toast is said to be prosperous in the coming year.
Putting Wheat on the Table
On a typical New Year’s table in Colombia, you’ll be seeing Colombian traditional food and decor laid out.
But there’s one more unusual thing you might have noticed — the bouquet of wheat placed alongside the centerpiece.
Tradition dictates that the table is to be set with 12 shafts of wheat. Just like how a New Year’s feast is bountiful, it symbolizes a constant abundance of food all year round.
Eating Twelve Grapes
When the clock strikes twelve and the fireworks go off, Colombians are quick to chow down a bunch of grapes.
You might be asking, why twelve?
Each grape represents a month in a year. Eating one grape would be equivalent to being granted one wish. There is one condition, however: you would have to finish all of them within a minute. The moment 12:02 strikes, your chances of having your wish granted is gone.
Taking a Literal Step to the New Year
To start the year on a good note, you have to put your right foot forward — literally.
Colombians believe that your first step into the New Year affects how the rest of your year goes. To ensure that it’s filled with nothing but positive vibes, Colombians enter the new year with the right foot (pun intended).
Working Your Way into a Colombiana’s Heart
Nothing touches a woman more than seeing her man making an effort to understand her, even more so when you hail from different cultures.
Anyone would be grateful to have an accommodating and understanding partner. You bet your lucky lentils that your partner will be ecstatic to see you incorporate yourself into her culture.
This can come off as a romantic act of love, one that will sweep any Colombian woman off her feet. All you need to do is open your mind to her culture, and everything will follow.
Who knows, if you follow all these superstitions, you might make the rest of your year one of the most precious experiences in your life.
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