28 December 2016

Why Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Colombia

Posted in Blog

Colombians, like in any other country or culture, have a large number of New Year's Eve traditions. Like every Colombian holiday many people like to celebrate with family, at a party and then with friends in a club. Each family has their own plans and desires for New Year's Eve, but many families choose to leave the big cities and head for warmer climates (such as the Caribbean Coast or even just short breaks from cities like Bogota).

Colombian holidays

City Celebrations

The New Year's Eve celebrations in city and countryside communities vary widely; in the big cities individuals often have their own house parties and celebrations. Celebrations often include a buffet style or sit down meal with traditional food and drinks. Bars and restaurants in the big cities also put on special events, lasting into the early hours of the morning.

Countryside and Communities

Countryside communities often have big street-party-style celebrations to bring in the new year. It's traditional in communities for households to make a scarecrow (known as El Año Viejo) for the top of a bonfire and fill it with fireworks-this represents the burning away of the previous year.

Traditions and Superstitions

In Colombia there are many superstitions and traditions that people carry out to bring good fortune and prosperity for the new year, here are some of them:

• Ropa Interior Amarilla (Yellow Underwear) - People wear yellow underwear on New Year's Eve in hope to bring fortune for the upcoming year.
• La Maleta (Suitcase) - Some people choose to walk or run around the house with an empty suitcase in the hope for upcoming travel in the new year.
• Las Uvas (12 Grapes) - At midnight it's traditional to eat 12 grapes and make 12 wishes one for each grape, with each grape symbolising a month of the coming year.
• Lentils and Rice - It's common for people to eat lentils and rice on New Year's day or for people to carry uncooked lentils in their pocket in hope to bring good luck for the coming year.
• Right Foot First - After the clock strikes midnight every first step should be made with the right foot first, in order to start the new year on the 'right foot'.
• 12 Shards of Wheat - By having twelve shards of wheat in a vase placed on the dinner table or around the house it is said to ensure an abundance of food for the coming year.
• Money - Many people believe that clutching a note or a coin when the clock strikes midnight will bring financial security and stability in the coming year.
• Cleaning the House - Some people believe a full clean of the house the day before New Year's Eve will bring positivity to the family for the new year as well as allowing you to start the new year in a clean 'new' environment.

Colombians are all individuals, some may choose to do a few or all of these traditions and others won't do any at all (it all depends on what they believe in).

Anny Wooldridge

About the author:

My name is Anny, I am from a small village in the East of England. Since graduating University and realising I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, I started travelling and working abroad. Travelling was always a passion of mine and I managed to turn it into a career. I have worked as a water ski instructor in Greece and America, a nanny in a snow ski resort in France and I am now embarking on a new adventure to teach English in Bogota, Colombia. You can read more about my adventures at annysadventuresblog.wordpress.com