And just like that, Christmas and Hanukkah 2018 are in the rearview. Kwanzaa celebrations end on January 1. I hope you all made it through okay. This time of year can be difficult for some folks and we still have New Years Eve to contend with. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays. We’ve changed the way we interact with them and its worked wonderfully.
When we lived aboard, Melody and I didn’t exchange big gifts. We kept is very simple. We had tiny stockings pinned to the mast. If we were to get each other a gift, it had to fit in the stocking. Now that we no longer have a mast we celebrate by doing something together. Having an experience.
This year, we got tattoos as a remembrance of our time in Mexico. Nothing says love like a needle full of black ink. We also bought a small piece of art. We pondered the decision heavily, but in the end… we pulled the trigger. It’s a skull. Yeah, a skull. But, a skull done by the famous Castillo family. They do several, but in this collection, there are four. Each skull represents one of the four elements, earth, fire, wind, and water. Ours is packed, ready for transit home so I can’t post the actual photo, but below is an example of a Castillo skull.
Man, I swung way wide on that. Let me gather it in by saying, we keep Christmas very simple and low key. As for New Years? I’m not a fan. Never have been. Maybe it’s the pressure associated with such bench mark evenings or maybe it’s the fireworks. I loathe fireworks. Shocking. I know. How can any red-blooded American not like fireworks? Simple, just lump them in with drunk girl crying in bare, stocking feet at 2 am. Toss in drunk, likes-to-fight-guy and you have everything I hate about New Years.
For more years than I care to remember, at the stroke of midnight, I’ve either been at home, hiding with the dog or at a very low-key gathering with a small group of friends. Rarely (if ever) have I dressed up and gone to a glitzy gala type party. I know, shocker number 2.
No matter how we choose to ring in the new year, I think we can at least agree on the sentiments; a fresh start, positive vibes, kindness, prosperity, joy, and more love. Some will make resolutions. A plan- to workout more and eat less. Quit smoking. We promise to be more patient with others and kinder to ourselves. However you go about your New Years calisthenics, I wish you success.
As we approach the big night here in Guanajuato, Mexico I learned about some of the ways Mexicans ring in the new year along with a few traditions they practice in an attempt to bring luck and prosperity.
Back home in the states, my southern friends will chomp down black-eye peas on New Years day. Some of my Italian family and friends will eat sausages and green lentils (cotechino con lenticchie) at the stroke of midnight.
Here in Mexico, they have some pretty interesting ways to increase their odds for good fortune, love, and luck in the new year as well.
Underwear: I start with this one only because Italians have a similar tradition. In Italy, men and women wear red underwear to attract more passion. Here in Mexico, It’s mostly the women who observe this ritual, but a lot of those women choose yellow instead of red for luck and prosperity.
Sweeping: On New Years Day you are to sweep all the rooms of your home, the front steps, and the street in front of your house to remove all traces of the past year. Some people place “gold” coins on the ground and literally sweep them into the house to bring prosperity and abundance in the coming year.
A Burning: On a piece of paper, write down any bad habits or memories from the previous year that you’d like to get rid of and burn the paper. Once they turn to ash, you still have to follow through to make it reality.
Three Rocks: Find 3 stones. One represents money, one for health, and one for love. Put them somewhere you will see them every day. This serves as a gentle reminder for the coming year. I like this one.
Twelve Grapes: The 12 grapes symbolize the 12 months in a year. At the stroke of midnight, eat one grape at each toll of the bell. Make one wish for each grape. I’m told, even the fanciest restaurants include grapes with the New Years Eve plates. I think it’s much the token glass of bubbly we all receive in the states when we do the all-inclusive type dining celebrations.
Spoonful of Cooked Lentils: It seems that lentils are the universal good luck charm. While my southern pals enjoy their black-eyed peas, In other cultures like here in Mexico and in Italy, a spoonful of lentils is given to arriving guests to bring prosperity and good fortune.
So there you have it. Six pretty cool traditions that add a new twist to an old celebration. Which one do you like best? Do you see yourself adapting any of these into your New Years celebration? Personally, I like the rocks and the grapes.
However you ring in the new year, please be safe. Our crew wants to wish your crew a happy and prosperous new year. We wish you joy and peace. Most of all, we wish you love.
Thanks for a great year! We’re excited for what’s ahead.