It’s no surprise: we Colombians love to party! And this is especially true during the holidays, and on New Year’s Eve in particular. Although we’ve been living in Montreal for several years now, and have learned to love its climate and culture, we’ve kept many of the traditional celebrations from our homeland.
Like most Canadians, we spend our holidays getting together with friends and family, sharing meals, playing outdoor sports and loading up on hot cocoa and baked treats. As mixed-raced families, we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah and are all the richer thanks to the various rituals and festivities.
Valeria and her mom during the holidays
But the one celebration that binds us to our Latin American roots is New Year’s Eve, which is major in our culture. And boy, do we have the customs to prove it! Of course, there’s the traditional dance party to kick up our heels and end the year on a good note in our best outfits. Who doesn’t love to ring in the New Year on a dance floor! Other rituals are a little more unusual. For instance, did you know that at the stroke of midnight, we eat 12 grapes symbolizing the 12 months of the year, and make a wish for every month of the coming year?
Another time-honored New Year’s ritual in Colombia is to pack a suitcase and run with it as fast as possible around the block at midnight, in heels, of course. This guarantees travel within the year, and we swear it’s true! Living in Quebec has somewhat dampened our spirit for this particular ritual, but we’re hoping that the weather will be a little more conducive for a midnight sprint this year!
Valeria (middle) and Camilla (right) celebrating New Year's Eve with family in Cuba in 2000
Perhaps the most relevant New Year’s tradition given our line of business is wearing yellow underwear as a means to garner riches in the upcoming year. Why yellow? Other than being bright and bold (like many Colombians), yellow is the color of gold and the main color of our national flag. How about a miel panty or thong in Canary Yellow in 2018?!
No matter where you live or where you come from, New Year’s is a time to celebrate new beginnings while honoring one’s heritage and traditions. We send you and your loved ones our best seasonal greetings and wish you a very Happy New Year… whether or not you choose to ring it in yellow underpants!
Feliz Año Nuevo!
Abuelita and grandkids (Alicia, Miguel and Fiona)