2020 is around the corner. People celebrate the transition of years in various ways across the world. Culture, religion and even weather have a significant impact on how celebrations and superstitions occur.
The Mondays team come from various places: Elisabeth is half Swedish, half German, but grew up in the UK. Nancy from the UK lived in many different countries across the globe throughout her life. And I (Maja) grew up in Brazil but come from a Swiss / Polish family with English influences. I have lived in Switzerland for ten years now, and I must say, the Brazilian New Year’s Eve is one of the things I miss the most.
New Year’s Eve in Brazil
Friends and family meet for a nice nourishing evening meal, where the traditions and superstitions already start:
- Everyone is well dressed with white summer outfits (whilst in Europe, people stay cosy and warm inside, escaping from the cold winter, it is high summer in Brazil, and the fans work hard to cool us down)
- According to our tradition, you also wear new underwear of a colour that represents what you want for the coming year: white for peace, blue for calmness and tranquillity, yellow for prosperity, green for hope and health, red for passion and pink for love.
- We eat the meat of seven pomegranates and wrap their seeds in paper. You then store them in your purse/wallet throughout the year; to attract prosperity and love.
- By eating twelve grapes on New Year’s Eve, the new year will bring more money.
- A lentil dish is also a must; you can’t get enough of it; it is a magnet for prosperity.
If you’re somewhere at the Brazilian coast, shortly before midnight, it is time to pack up and head to the beach to continue with the celebrations: champagne, champagne glasses, white roses and maybe a candle or a charming lantern to bring light. You won’t be the only one heading to the direction of the beach with all the must-have items. So reserve your spot at the beach and make sure you haven’t lost anyone along the way!
Seconds before midnight, everyone starts looking at their watches and phones waiting anxiously for the great countdown. The countdown begins at 10… funnily enough, at this point, everyone starts to realise that their timing is all mismatched and everyone is counting inconsistently. When fireworks start bursting in the sky, and the excitement spreads across the beach, it is then official; the new year has begun! Champagne bottles pop open everywhere, and we make sure to let it drip a bit so to guarantee a wave of luck in the next year. After cheering and hugging everyone, it is time to swim in the open ocean. We offer the white rose to Iemanja, the Queen of the Ocean, for peace and love throughout the year, and jump seven waves, so Iemanja helps us win over the obstacles and find the strength to face the coming year. By jumping the seven waves, it is said Iemanja will also give you new opportunities.
There are many other superstitions and traditions to follow, but these I would say are the ones most people know and follow on every New Year. Make sure to plan ahead, and have everything you need.
Wearing all white, generally, clothing made of very light fabric, it is always good to be prepared in case your period suddenly starts. Make sure to have a pantyliner on (thin enough for every outfit) and put an emergency tampon and/or pad in your bag so that you can enjoy the night with no worries. If you are hosting a party, why not place plastic-free period products in the bathroom to make sure everyone is prepared and can have a fun night.
We’re curious, what traditions are held in your country? In China, for example, the New Year will start on January 25. How do you celebrate? We would love to hear!