Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yellow Underwear and New Year's Eve

I know that it's 12 days until New Year's Eve. The Christmas spirit is in full swing, and rightly so. My outdoor lights will remain on 'round the clock, as will the lights inside the house. While I leave most of the gift giving to Santa, I did buy a couple of things for the kids, my Secret Santa, and the love of my life. With all the pre-Christmas sales, though, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about the yellow underwear tradition, so that you can get yours now (Laura, Deb & Shannon, I already got you yours...).  Preparation is the key to a relaxed holiday celebration, as you know.

"But yellow underwear," you ask. "Whatever for?"

The women I am spending New Year's Eve with this year are getting a gift from me. Yellow underwear. Yes, you read that right. I am buying my girlfriends yellow underwear. Actually, I've already ordered them.

Though it sounds strange, wearing yellow underwear at midnight on New Year's Eve is a tradition in many Spanish speaking countries. Putting on a pair of new (very important), yellow underwear before midnight is said to bring good luck. Better if the underwear is gifted to you. While this doesn't apply to men (I am not sure why), it does apply to women. It's been said that the color yellow was used to represent gold, which equals money. So in today's time, shouldn't it be green? Or perhaps they should be made of plastic. As you know, I am a traditionalist first and foremost, so we are sticking with yellow. See the explanation here, from the New Internationalist magazine article, The Future's Bright... the Future's Yellow?!:

"Peruvians take this crazy tradition very seriously. When the clock strikes midnight, you have to be out of your old underwear and inside your new yellow pair. To be lucky, the underpants must always be brand new. If you get them as a present, it is supposed to bring you extra luck. And what you do exactly at midnight, I was told as a child, offers a snapshot representation of what you will do in the New Year. So if you want to travel in the New Year, you take your suitcase around the block. If you want wealth, you count your money. If you want to keep your lover, you better have him or her nearby at midnight. And if you want to overcome the bad things that happened in the previous year, you burn Mr. Old Year."

This year was rough, riddled with endless issues, one piggybacking off the next, for months on end. As I update this post, I've just survived another harrowing encounter, and I can say with my whole damn heart, that I have had it with this year.

To be fair, we also had good times worth celebrating, private moments that I will always treasure. Still, I do plan to throw my yellow skivvies on just before midnight, and on burning Mr. Old Year. Seriously, good riddance. I imagine that my friends Deb, Laura, Shannon, and I will be running to the bathroom, or an unoccupied bedroom, at five 'til midnight to change into our new underwear (you can't wear it all night), which I think will be funny in itself. 

They say that if you want love, you should wear red underwear. If you've already found love, a kiss at midnight will be the way we celebrate that. All of the women that I will be celebrating with have found good love. No red undies required.

Burning Mr. Old year is a Columbian tradition. Families make giant dolls, stuffed with different materials that may have brought sadness or incite bad memories. They also sometimes add fireworks, to spice things up. They burn him at midnight to symbolize getting rid of the past; to start the new year without those bad memories. I don't think that the large doll is going to work for me, but I may make a small paper doll, and write all our bad experiences on it, then burn him over the sink or outside at midnight. It's worth a shot.

In regards to drinks, I do the obvious champagne at midnight, and this year, I may also have a little before midnight (it's light, lower calories than beer). For the kids, I will be bringing some sparkling cider. We are just doing appetizers and finger foods, since previous years we did meals that no one cared to eat (like my Stuffed Tomatoes - heh, heh).

To be safe, we all stay at the warm, inviting home of the person who is hosting. That way, we don't have to be out on the cold, dark roads with people who are driving home late and may not be paying attention. This has always been my biggest concern, so not having to drive is fabulous.

I remember learning from my son's grandmother, Mumzie Palisi, that the house should be clean, spotless if possible, on New Year's Eve, because the condition the house is in at midnight predicts how the house will be the entire year that follows. In addition, she left a fresh loaf of bread on the table, and some cash. Food and prosperity.

I don't wish to write resolutions that I won't be comfortable sticking with. Instead, I am going to write a Want List with all the good things that I want to add to my life, the experiences, the moments, the visions. That way, I can aspire to and focus on positive things.  Love, a healthy life, and good food.

Kissing your loved one at midnight means that you will be happily together the following year. Traditions have lasted as long as they have, for good reason. They offer comfort and have staying power. Why mess with what works?


  1. It's unbelievable how life can swoop in and blindside you.

  2. The yellow underwear is a good idea. Maybe that will make your problems go away.

  3. Please spell "Colombian" correctly :D

  4. Hahahaha, O' Boy! Now I need to go out and get yellow underpants :)