Dec 30, 2011

Pretending I'm Colombian

One of my best friends in the entire world is Cesar. He doesn't like being put in the public eye, and the fact that he even let me take a picture of the two of us during his Colorado adventures recently is a breakthrough (sorry, Cesar, I know I didn't tell you I'd be putting it here, but, you know, it's relevant).

Cesar was telling me about a tradition in Colombia for New Years that I think will be very therapeutic and cathartic considering how absolutely rotten 2011 has been for me. The tradition?
Burn Año Nuevo: An effigy on the name of the Old Year is made, which is called as Año Nuevo. It is tied up with fireworks, and at the point of the clock ringing twelve, it is burnt. Also, people write their faults, or any feared bad luck on a piece of paper and throw it in the burning effigy. According to beliefs, doing so ensures liberty from all past troubles, sins, and mistakes, as well as bad luck.
Evidently, people build full-size effigies of themselves, dress them up in clothes from the year, and burn them in order to wish away the craptastic things that happened. There's even a business for making small versions of effigies that are safe to burn on a balcony or in city spaces, so I'm probably going to go this route. I had some clothes I was going to donate that I don't wear or don't fit, so perhaps I'll make a little Chavi out of newspaper and dress her up 2011 style. 

Do you have any particularly interesting traditions for the Gregorian New Year? 


Anonymous said...

We're quite boring. No traditions except playing cards which my husband and I might bypass this year by actually going somewhere else for once.

merav said...

Why would you burn the New Year (Año Nuevo)? Shouldn't it be burning the Old Year? said...

I want to do this now. :)

Bloom said...

I think that if we can find another Colombian who is willing (and I know a few) we can convene a Colombian Bet Din and convert you to Colombianism. It is great. You get off work all the Jewish holidays, the Catholic ones, and a couple of Independence days. You will immediately be able to salsa. And, if you are very lucky, you will roll your rs. The drawbacks is that people will make pointless drug jokes whenever they meet you and you will never, ever, ever, again, as long as you´ll live, make your international connections since you will be detained and questioned by every custom agent in the world. I think the pros outweigh the cons.

VickiB said...

There are a BUNCH of New Year traditions in Russian culture. One of my favorite is going to the banya, which is kind of like a Swedish sauna, but much hotter. You steam for 15 minutes or as long as you can stand it, then take an ice-cold 1-second shower. You repeat this for a couple hours, interspersed with relaxing with beer and other salty foods, and by the time you come out, you feel like a new person.

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